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Domestic Tourism begins, International tourism resumes in 2021

CAPE TOWN – Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced last week that certain parts of the tourism sector will be opening up as South Africa moves into lockdown level certain domestic activities.

The decision came in to revive the struggling tourism industry, which could have potentially lost 600 000 jobs due to the lockdown restrictions, by phasing the opening of the sector.

The Minister of Tourism discussed that the industry will open up in phases, first being domestic tourism such as hiking, hunting and game drives listed as some of the activities, and once successful, regional and then international tourism may resume.

However, the resumption of international tourism operations may only begin to open up in February 2021 as the first phase of recovery would be domestic tourism which the minister expects to only fully recover in December.

The spread of the disease may affect these plans, but in the meanwhile, the sector has received assistance from the government providing relief funds and easing of restrictions which benefits the tourism industry such as self-drive game parks, certain national parks opening up and accommodation and domestic commercial flights to resume, although just for business purposes.

“The opening up of hunting will also be a big boost to the tourism sector. The hunting industry contributes an estimated R2 billion (direct spending) annually to the tourism sector and it also contributes to employment in rural areas,” said the Tourism Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.

“We have a beautiful country that will still be beautiful after the Covid-19 pandemic. Post-Covid-19, people will still yearn to visit beautiful places and create memorable moments with their loved ones. We have plans in place to, as soon as the world begins to open up, to resume marketing our country and rebuilding our brand.”

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