Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says the detection of the 501Y.V2 variant of COVID-19 in South Africa has affected international tourism in the country.

Speaking during a two-day domestic travel activation campaign in the Northern Cape,  the minister says the tourism sector would not withstand another hard lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The minister says it will take time to regain the number of international tourists with the sector currently being boosted by domestic tourism.

“When South Africa announced that there was a variant that came up within South Africa, that made international tourists more cautious. We believe in the tourism industry that we cannot afford another hardcore lockdown because we will perish as tourism and that is why we need all South Africans to help us so that the numbers in the third wave are not going to warrant for the command council to close down the tourism sector.”

Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says other countries have been isolating SA because of the coronavirus variant: 

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane says the inclusion of tourism frontline workers as part of phase two of the vaccine rollout would inspire tourists to visit the country and help in the recovery of the sector.

“What we are getting as a message is that I would feel comfortable as a traveller when I come to your country and I know that I will interact with a traveller, a guide, or a frontline staff in a hotel who is vaccinated. We believe that if we do that, we will be able to regain confidence. And where it is possible, get these frontline workers in those sectors into phase two of the rollout just to gain more confidence as we recover.”