Western Cape tourism authorities say the travel bans imposed on South Africa will have a huge impact on the local economy.

Thousands of overseas tourists flock to the Mother City yearly but numbers have declined by almost 73 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. The City of Cape Town says prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the sector contributed over seven percent to the provincial GDP and created 113 000 direct jobs.

Western Cape tourism laments travel bans:

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth James Vos says, “Intensify vaccines rather than stricter restrictions that would cripple the economy. Our immediate concern is the damage that these restrictions are causing to families in the travel and tourism industry and tourism. Government should avoid the damage caused by these travel restrictions and instead, take steps to raise vaccination rates that’s precisely why we will be turning our focus on domestic market because this is our main pillar of support.”

KZN tourism

KwaZulu-Natal Tourism MEC Ravi Pillay said that they’re concerned about the newly detected coronavirus variant, Omicron, in South Africa ahead of the festive season.

The new variant has triggered a travel ban on the country by some European nations including the UK.

KwaZulu-Natal is a popular festive season holiday destination among local and international travellers.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa says that the announcement of the detection of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has not helped the already battered tourism industry.

The council’s CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa says that no context has been given to what will happen following the discovery of this variant.

The World Health Organisation has officially classified Omicron as a variant of concern. Several countries have already imposed travel bans on South Africa and other southern African countries.

Tshivhengwa says this is extremely worrying.

“Every country in the world is announcing that they don’t desire anyone who is coming from the southern African region, and especially South Africa, being the hub of the region. So we are in a situation where it’s a freefall. The only thing we need to do is to protect the domestic market. We do have healthy bookings that are coming through to December and January, we need to protect those, and you know I’ve heard of the talks, possible bans that may be imposed here at home and we need to avoid those at all cost.”