Tourism in South Africa struggles under strict lockdown protocols. The Tourism Business Council of South Africa, (TBCSA) now lobbies the government. They hope for easing restrictions sufficiently to allow for a faster return to business as usual.
Tourism in South Africa appeals restrictions
Providers in the private-sector feel ready for overseas visitors according to TBCSA. The council drew up a strategy for health protocols. Therefore, they feel confident that both clients and employees get protection. Already, in June, they presented measures for consideration by the government.
Definitely, inbound travel remains vital for the sector. And, TBCSA hopes for the restoration of international travel by September. Notably, September falls inside the beginning of the last financial quarter. Therefore, operators require training and education ahead of that date. Naturally, opening to travellers from countries over the worst of COVID-19 will make a difference to the entire industry.
Annually, the summer high season runs from September to March. Overall, that period represents 60 percent of the annual business for tourism. The nature of international inbound visitors is such that “we have long lead times between booking and travel,” explains TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.
A significant employer
The teetering South African economy needs every job opportunity. Moreover, international tourism employs 375,000 people. Previously, June estimates of job losses sat at around 40,000. Perhaps, South Africa can’t afford more losses. Additionally, tourism supports surrounding communities and they also feel the effect of the travel ban.
Usually, with favourable exchange rates, tourist bookings spike by now as people plan trips and pay deposits. Sadly, the uncertainty around inbound flights prevents clients from committing to bookings. In the meantime, only local travel restrictions eased up a bit.
Botswana is set re-open
With stiff competition from neighbouring countries, South African companies worry about lifting the international travel. Notably, Botswana reported announced that they reopened on June 15th. Mostly, their trade arrives via Johannesburg. Therefore, it’s unclear how international travellers reach Botswana. Fortunately, Zimbabwe reopened international travel from the USA on 24th June. So, that country may offer a different route into Botswana for visitors. However, every tourist travelling via Zimbabwe equals US$ losses to the South African industry.
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