The premature reports that have been circulating recently by the international press regarding South Africa not opening to international travel until 2021 have been extremely detrimental to the South African tourism sector, costing millions of rands in potentially unnecessary travel cancellations. Following a 2-hour webinar discussion with SATSA (South Africa Tourism Association) & TBCSA (Tourism Business Council of South Africa) over the weekend, we are here to support the motion put forward to government, that South Africa is ready to reintroduce international tourism to the country from September 2020.
The more accurate information is that re-opening dates for international tourism have not yet been determined. South Africa is working with a 5 level risk-adjusted approach to Covid-19 and is currently on level 3 (as of last week).
The Tourism Recovery Strategy, which has been developed by South African Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, is working closely with the South African government to strategise a plan and process to safely re-open inbound international tourism to the country sooner rather than later, and hopefully, by 1 September 2020.
The proposed Recovery Strategy is a phased approach that will allow for an initial 6 to 8-week preparation phase, followed by a trial phase where safe target markets that have a similar risk profile to South Africa will be allowed to travel to South Africa.
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of TBCSA (the Tourism Business Council of South Africa) said last week, “By instituting a phased approach to reopening, we will have had the benefit from the learnings from the European and Northern Hemisphere summer season”.
The ATTA (African Travel and Tourism Association) has said “We are confident South Africa’s tourism economy can be opened up safely if we follow global best practice and the comprehensive protocols we have developed. By opening up as close to September 1 in a responsible manner, we will save the entire 2021 inbound tourism revenue stream and tourism in South Africa.”
Reasons to travel to South Africa post Covid:
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