South Africa likely to remain closed to tourists until 2021
June 08, 2020
Last Update: 2020-06-09 14:42:52
Countries around the world are reopening following restrictions, and trying to put in place phased plans for sustainable and safe tourism. South Africa has become one of the latest countries to outline how it hopes to achieve this, but international tourists may have to wait until next year to visit.
“Based on the Covid-19 epidemic’s expected trajectory, the first phase of the recovery for the sector will be driven by domestic tourism, followed by regional tourism and international tourism next year. Although we will be gradually opening up the sector in the coming months, depending on how the virus is spreading, we expect that the sector will only fully recover towards the end of this year,” J Blessing Manale, chief director of the Communications Department of Tourism of South Africa told Lonely Planet.
According to the South African government, it has been in consultation with the tourism sector since the beginning of lockdown, looking into ways to cushion it and mitigate against any potential job losses in the future. As well as that, it has been looking at phased recovery plans. The start of June saw the country moving into level three lockdown and moving towards opening up more sectors of the economy.
Level three means that restaurants can open for delivery and take away food, while professional services like tour guides, tour operators and travel agents came begin working again. Hiking can be done in compliance with guidelines and not in groups, while some accommodation activities are allowed. It is worth noting however that festivals, conferences and other entertainment events as well as leisure travel are still not permitted.
Last week the president held discussions with the tourism sector with several proposals being made regarding the measures they intend to implement when businesses open. The government said that it aims to work towards getting more tourism activities into an enhanced level three, meaning that there is an opportunity for opening up more sub-sectors.