Tourism confident of recovering thanks to lockdown climbdown

Africa needs to promote domestic tourism. Joana French/Shutterstock

An upbeat department of tourism spokesperson spoke of ‘tangible winnings for the industry from lockdown Level 3’.

The tourism industry, which is among the sectors contributing immensely to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), is confident about a measure of recovery by the December festive season.

An upbeat department of tourism spokesperson Blessing Manale yesterday spoke of “tangible winnings for the industry from lockdown Level 3”.

Manale said: “We’ve gained hiking, self-drive, travel agencies tour, operators.

“Hotels are now allowed to go beyond essential services to overnight business accommodation and domestic business travel is allowed.

“Sector losses have been unimaginable – never been hit like this before.”

But he was confident that tourism would bounce back in the country.

“In our three pillars [programme], we speak of short-term relief, mid-term recovery and long-term sustainability.

“We have a 10-point sector plan which is not a government plan, it is about moving from a digital market to new products and prioritising domestic tourism.

“We want the department of home affairs to prioritise e-visa processing – things that make tourism work.

“We are telling home affairs that the airlines have been down – the problem must not be the administration of visas.

“It is time to prove that we are no longer a blockage to tourism,” said Manale.

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