The lack of tourism, be it intra-provincial, inter-provincial or international is hurting hundreds of thousands across South Africa. Several restaurants and hotels have folded since Lockdown was announced four months ago.
When the first cases of COVID-19 hit South Africa, Government acted quickly in closing its borders to foreign travelers.
Once other countries began easing lockdown regulations and started opening up their borders, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane issued a statement saying international tourism wouldn’t return to South Africa until next year .
In light of this announcement, South Africa’s tourism industry strongly believes they can reopen sooner and is now lobbying to reopen to international travelers as early as September 2020.
In a statement published by South African Tourism on June 3, they noted that some popular global destinations were “assessing entering the regional phase of reopening through AirBridge/Travel Bubbles between regional countries”, which could point to a possible solution to gradually open our borders to international tourists.
Maija de Rijk-Uys, Managing Director of Cape Town–based safari travel company Go2Africa, is one of the businesses lobbying for Government to use the phased approach which had been presented along with the targeted date of September 2020.
“The resumption of travel of course would be accompanied [by] appropriate safety protocols, starting with the lower-density and lower-risk areas like the key safari regions, and eventually including major hubs like Cape Town and Johannesburg,” de Rijk-Uys told AFAR in an interview.
South African Tourism have yet to name which countries could fall under the “travel bubble” category. However, in May it was reported that US airline had Delta had submitted a regulatory filing to the Department of Transportation which would see Cape Town being added to its route list from Atlanta starting on October 24, 2020, depending on travel restrictions imposed by either country.