Tourism Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says 600 000 jobs are at risk of being lost if the tourism industry doesn’t reopen fully by September this year.
The tourism industry is one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy from COVID-19 as all tourism activities were suspended.
However, the Minister says tourism operators, travel agents, tour guides and tourism information officers are allowed to operate from June 1 under Level 3 of the national lockdown.
“So that means our accommodation facilities, that means – our hotels, our B&B’s and our guest lodges are operational with effect from the 1st of June. We are not required to have letters from the Ministry of Tourism. What you’re going to be required is to keep a list ensuring that people who are coming into your establishment are not coming in for leisure, you have to be able to be accountable as the owner of the facility.”
Kubayi-Ngubane says public and private game farms will be open for self-drive excursions. Accommodation activities will be allowed for business travellers, but not for leisure, she adds.
Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane full media briefing:
Briefing the media on Saturday on the new regulations for the industry that come into effect on Monday, Kubayi-Ngubane says, “The first phase of recovery for the sector will be driven by domestic tourism followed by the regional tourism and international tourism. Although we will be gradually opening up the sector in the coming months, depending on how the virus spreads, we expect that the sector will only fully recover towards the end of this year,” says Kubayi-Ngubane.
Assistance for tour guides
Kubayi-Ngubane also announced that a further R30 million has been set aside to assist tour guides who were heavily affected by the lockdown.
“Following my meeting with the tour guides, in which they expressed their plight and how the various government departments or relief initiatives have neglected them … as you are aware, the tour guiding sub-sector is dominated by freelancers and independent contractors and no job security, we have come up with an additional financial relief mechanism for tourism guides. We have set aside a total of R30 million, which will provide financial relief over a period of two to three months,” says Kubayi-Ngubane.