SA’s travel industry warms up for a September restart

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SA’s travel industry warms up for a September restart

Confusion about when the country will reopen, but tourism bodies are hopeful it will be sooner rather than later

Emma Cooke

SA’s tourism industry has hit back at recent predictions that international tourism will not restart before 2021, saying the country is likely to reopen much sooner.

After a briefing from SA’s department of tourism on May 27, it was reported that international tourism wouldn’t be possible until February 2021. A further statement, on May 30, from tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said “based on the Covid-19 epidemic expected trajectory”, international tourism would return “next year”. These statements caused panic in SA’s travel industry, which relies heavily on international visitors. 

However, according to the Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA), an umbrella organisation representing the country’s voice of business in the travel and tourism sector, the release of these predictions was premature. SA’s “risk-adjusted” reopening strategy was based on levels of infection, not dates, so the timeline spoken of in parliament was a worst-case scenario and “purely speculative”, the body said. ..

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