Chief Economist at Econometrix, Laura Campbell, says the pace at which the government rolls out the COVID-19 vaccine will determine the rate at which the country’s tourism industry will recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

She was speaking ahead of the release of the 2020 tourism statistics by Stats SA later this week.

In February this year, 385 832 travellers passed through South Africa’s ports of entry/exit.

They included 131 693 South African residents and 254 139 foreign travellers.

Campbell says a contraction in tourist arrivals can be expected.

“So we’re expecting that there will have been a significant year on year contraction in foreign tourist arrivals once again. The announcement by South Africa that the second wave virus infecting the country around December with a different variant from that affecting the rest of the world drove many governments around the world to ban travel to and from South Africa. These restriction remain in place today and therefore will continue to depress the number of visitors coming to South Africa’s shore,” she adds.

Tourism Sector Recovery Plan hopes to rebuild the brand South Africa as a destination: