EDITORIAL | Yes, tourism will lift off, unless state ineptitude grounds it
The lifting of Covid-19 regulations is welcome. Now government must solve the problems for which it is responsible
The government’s decision this week to scrap the wearing of face masks and lift limitations on gatherings is long overdue. With the decline in hospitalisations and deaths, and most people experiencing mild symptoms, health experts agree we need to find ways to live with Covid-19 without compromising economic stability. The latest move is doing exactly that, though for many in the tourism, hospitality and sports sectors it is too little too late.
Sporting bodies have repeatedly warned they are facing extinction if they cannot host crowds at 100% capacity. The opening up of stadiums for sports events will start making a dent in empty coffers, but the road to recovery will be long and hard. The Federated Hospitality Association of SA (Fedhasa), the umbrella body for hotels, restaurants, conference centres, caterers, self-catering accommodation and guest houses, has welcomed the move.. Its chair, Rosemary Anderson, said: “It has been clear for months that not only does Covid no longer threaten to overwhelm our hospitals, but that these regulations also have no effect on limiting Covid-19 infections.”
On Thursday, tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the decision would boost growth in the sector since border checks for travellers were no longer in place either. A PCR test showing a negative result and a vaccination certificate are not required any more, reducing the cost and administrative burden of travelling. “The return to life as we knew it before Covid-19 will go a long way in boosting the tourism sector’s growth as travellers will be able to participate in more activities, including attending big events and gatherings that not only contribute to our country's appeal, but also to our economy,” said Sisulu...