175 days since the country’s lockdown began, the decision by government to move the country to Alert Level 1 as of 20 September 2020 at midnight, has been welcomed by The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the gradual and cautious resumption of international travel for both business and leisure purposes and the reopening of borders as of 1 October 2020 – a major win for the entire tourism sector. With restrictions on inter-provincial and international travel being lifted, new winds have been thrust in the sails of the tourism and hospitality industry.
Months in lockdown have enabled the sector to prepare to operate at full capacity and has allowed for further measures to be put in place through comprehensive industry standard protocols that allow travellers and patrons to travel and eat safely.
The tourism industry in South Africa supports 1.5 million jobs and contributes 8.6% to the GDP and has suffered significant losses during this time. However the industry is ready for the challenge to revive South Africa’s economy, and rebuild the industry.
The timeous arrival of the new level will allow the industry to take advantage of the peak holiday travel season and catapult its resuscitation. A win for travellers, suppliers and the entire tourism value chain.
“We would like to call upon the industry to come together, now more than ever as we work towards the recovery of our industry. We welcome the decision by the President and it further shows what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together, for a common goal. Let’s look to the future and continue to engage.” Said Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of TBCSA.
Tshivhengwa added that the industry is ready to welcome the world again and that this is the time to keep South Africa top of mind as a destination of choice locally and internationally.
What alert Level 1 means for the Tourism industry:
- International travel for leisure and business will resume
- Restaurants, including sit-down, take-away and delivery will be permitted
- Air travel will be permitted
- Ocean transport will be permitted
- Curfew has been adjusted and is now from midnight till 04:00
- Travel into the country will require a COVID-19 negative test result no older than 72 hours. Failure to do so will result in mandatory quarantine at the traveller’s own cost
- All travellers will be required to download the COVID-19 Alert App
Business operators are encouraged to make use of all the tools available to them, starting with the recently launched Travel Safe – Eat Safe App, which provides a full understanding and commitment to the safe industry operating protocols and records compliance of tourism industry business owners.