Domestic travellers essential in assisting reopening of tourism sector

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: ANA

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane encouraged South Africans to explore the country, especially after being cooped up at home for months – as long as this is done responsibly and in compliance with all protocols. 

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that the country moving to lockdown Level 2 on Tuesday marked a significant milestone for the sector. 

The sector is seeking to reignite business activities, save jobs and restore livelihoods in earnest, as it mobilises its Tourism Equity Fund to empower previously disadvantaged groups. 

The sector is also working on submitting the Tourism Sector Recovery Strategy to Cabinet soon. 

“We are mindful that this is critical as tourism is one of the pillars for the broader South African economic recovery and growth,” Kubayi-Ngubane explained, adding that a number of sectors rely heavily on the success of the industry. 

Clarifying the sector’s risk-adjusted strategy means laying a foundation for a “healthier, more resilient and competitive future”.

Global tourism trends indicate that travellers are still cautious to move from one country to another, Kubayi-Ngubane explained. She said that among other concerns, tourists are mindful that travelling to multiple countries could hamper efforts to determine where Covid-19 was contracted by tourists. 

But this area is where South Africa can capitalise. 

She said that South Africa is a destination that offers a variety of diverse attractions, products, activities and experiences, which gives us a “competitive and comparative advantage amongst other destinations for this new global traveller”.

The department was not however able to say when international borders would reopen. 

In the meantime, South African travellers play an essential role in helping to open up the sector and provide much-needed income to accommodation and tourist facilities. Kubayi-Ngubane encouraged South Africans to explore South Africa, especially after being cooped up at home for months – as long as this is done responsibly and in compliance with all protocols. 

South Africa will also be celebrating Tourism Month in September as part of its Domestic Tourism Campaign. 

“Covid-19 surely impacted our operations, but certainly not our sense of hospitality. The sector stands ready to host you. Whether it is a visit to the local botanical garden, restaurant or an overnight trip to another province – go and enjoy yourself and don’t forget to share your experiences as we strive for excellence, resilience and competitiveness.” 

The following areas resuming business under Level 2 were highlighted by Kubayi-Ngubane: 

Accommodation

All Level 3 requirements remain in place for accommodation facilities, in addition to interprovincial travel allowance for leisure travellers. 

Facilities must ensure their breakfast and reception areas keep to a maximum occupancy rate of 50%. 

Restaurants 

Level 3 requirements remain, in addition to being allowed to consume alcohol at licensed institutions. Adhering to the curfew is key, the minister emphasised.

Restaurants must adhere to a 1.5m space between each table, and must ensure that they close their doors at 10pm. Otherwise, Kuubayi-Ngubane warned that the managers and owners restaurants and bars failing to comply will be arrested. 

Innovations within this sector also put the minds of patrons at ease, with menus now accessible through scanning a bar code. This significantly limits the spread of germs and Covid-19. 

Places of attraction

All places are attractions, including theme and amusement parks, zoos, aquariums and national parks. 

These places must adhere to social distancing, and are asked to mark floors where tourists are allowed to stand. Online bookings are encouraged, she said, to better manage the number of tourists expected at each facility. 

All tourists and tour guides must wear masks and sanitise regularly. 

Weddings and functions

Wedding guests must adhere to social dispatching, must wear masks at all times, and must ensure that they sanitise regularly. 

The maximum capacity for weddings and function venues is 50 people. 

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.




today in print