In the tourism sector, the number of visitors has been on a steady incline. Now, the cabinet has unanimously agreed to open its borders to “most” countries, which will have a huge effect on the rest of the sector.
The tourism sector was decimated by the waning of COVID-19 in Africa. To remedy this, all travelers coming from outside Africa are granted entry into South Africans. Countries with low COVID-19 infection rates are also eligible for entry.
A representative from the KwaZulu-Natal Ministry of Tourism also speaking on World Tourism Day urged those looking to invest in Corporate Social Responsibility to seriously consider investing in tourism. Minister Kubayi-Ngubane revealed statistics from the KRVB which show a downward trend in risk of spreading the CORONA virus as well as high levels of visitor satisfaction.
South Africa is arguably the safest tourist destination in the world. Unfortunately, this false sense of security if giving way to complacency. We are hopeful that South Africans will continue to take all the necessary precautions to protect themselves so that we can continue to reduce the spread of the virus, she said.
Kubayi-Ngubane says that the only way to create jobs in the tourism sector is by increasing the number of tourists coming into our country, both local and international.
“Our goal is not to duplicate what exists. We will encourage local tourism operators, so there’s less time for them to be idle. If they can afford the social enterprises now, they’ll now be able to take advantage of the revenue generated,” said Minister Faida.
“The rising domestic demand which will soon be augmented by the international market when we open the borders will have to be met by sufficient supply-side infrastructure. This is a very critical element of our road to recovery.”
South Africa was planning to open up two levels of the lockdown, but Kubayi-Ngubane confirmed that they would be using a level 1 alert or “low” to kick-start the tourism recovery efforts. She has been visiting tourism establishments and meeting with travelers and establishment owners alike since inter-provincial travel was made available under level 2.
According to Minister of Trade and Industry, Robson Arms-De La Rey, many businesses are looking to reopen, with over 50% of entrances to Kruger National Park finally reopened.
Head of Development Destination North West Harriet Smith predicts that domestic tourism in South Africa will lead to the recovery. “After six months of lockdown, it’s really amazing to see the people here rediscovering their country”.
South Africa’s transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, had a lot to say at World Tourism Day on Saturday suggesting the country will take steps to get over the troubles of recent years. Minister Mbalula sees more delegation visits to build partnerships with nations, new progress on visa requirements for travelers, an increased effort in areas including cybersecurity and tour operator regulation.
The geography of the United States makes it a high-risk tourist destination for outbreaks, whereas the UAE might be significantly lower risk.
The government will take a “differentiated approach” to decide what level 1 adoption to adopt on a country-by-country basis based on current stats, according to the Transport Minister.