South Africa’s tourism sector has been struggling throughout lockdown. Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane hosted a digital briefing on Thursday, July 30 on what the new concessions for the tourism industry will be going forward under lockdown Level 3.

Some of the new changes include the current 9pm curfew being extended until 10pm, and leisure travel within respective provinces is now permitted as well.

“In response to this challenge, Cabinet has agreed to move the curfew to start at 10pm to allow for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants,” the Minister said. “To comply with the current curfew regulation, restaurants are unable to serve dinner to their customers which means that they are unable to operate at peak time of their business day.”

Kubayi-Ngubane emphasised that it is only intra-provincial travel and not inter-provincial travel that is permitted.

“Individuals are still not permitted to travel between provinces for leisure purposes,” she said. “After the release of the new regulations, individuals will be permitted to leave their homes for leisure purposes within the province where they currently live.”

The Minister said that Cabinet has also agreed to ease the restrictions around leisure travel. Currently, individuals are not allowed to leave their homes for leisure purposes.

“Establishments are already legally obliged to require and keep a copy of proof of identity. Short-term home rental/sharing remain closed,” she said. “No more than two people per room except for a nuclear family, which includes parents and their children.”

“We have agreed to formalise our working relationship with sector players through a formation of a task team that brings together a broad spectrum of private sector players and officials from the department to work towards reopening the sector and resolving other sector challenges,” Kubayi-Ngubane added. “Going forward we will invite health practitioners who are advising government on how best to manage the pandemic to meet with our sector so that together as we strategise on the way forward, we are armed with all the necessary information.”

Tour operators, will be allowed to conduct guided tours in open safari vehicles subject to directions and includes provision for both social distancing and maximum ventilation
“In supporting the tourism sector in this crisis period, the Department of Tourism redirected R200 million through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF),” the Minister added.
The Western Cape Government welcomed the news, with Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier saying: “We have repeatedly called for the opening of these sectors, who have already done a great deal of work to develop health and safety guidelines and protocols aimed at ‘de-risking’ the sector.”While these adjustments to the restrictions will certainly help to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism and hospitality industry, they don’t go far enough, and so we will continue to engage with national government on this.”

“This finally brings to an end, months of flip-flopping that have caused immense financial damage and significant jobs losses that could have been avoided if a common-sense approach had been taken from the start,” he added. “We call on all people who can, to book a holiday or even just a night away to support the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape. We all need to contribute to economic recovery in the Western Cape – and supporting our accommodation sector, while visiting and supporting shops and restaurants in local towns at the same time has never been more important!”

Picture: Polity.org

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.