In a national press club meeting on Friday, the tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says that her department would submit a plan on the recovery of South Africa’s tourism sector to cabinet shortly – including the reopening of international travel.
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said that the plan would focus on the continued growth of the domestic tourism industry as well as the restarting of the international tourism industry. “Our next step is to work towards the reopening of international travel,” she said.
“We are monitoring the risk of the virus spread, and we are satisfied with the current downward trend of new infections, if sustained, can fast-track the reopening of regional borders soon.”
In this way, through regional coordination with our local partners, we could create a regional travel bubble, she said. “This region alone accounts for 71% of international arrivals. This would give a further boost to the recovery efforts of the sector.”
“The rise in domestic tourism together with regional travel will help us build confidence for global travellers so that when we eventually open all the borders, we will be able to attract traveller as a safe destination.”
Stabilising in September
Kubayi-Ngubane said her department’s plan conceives a scenario in which virus spread stabilises by September – with recent health data showing that this is ‘not off the mark’.
“In this regard, our plan predicted that the recovery would experience some phases, from hyper-local community attractions, through to broader domestic tourism, regional land and air markets, and lastly, resumption of world-wide international travel.
The Department of Tourism published a draft recovery plan at the beginning of August, outlining the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and how the tourism industry is likely to be impacted over the coming year.
The document provides a detailed breakdown of international and local projections for when tourism will likely open up, using modelling that takes into account various infection patterns and recovery scenarios.
You can read the full draft document below.