South Africa’s government has announced that it won’t be opening its borders to outsiders till February 2021.
Since the hit of the Covid-19 pandemic, the global tourism industry has been very inactive. Hotels and recreational facilities have had to close down all over the world.
This happens to have caused some countries to lift the ban on the lockdown and public gatherings. Countries like Spain, Jamaica and Thailand are getting ready to open their doors to tourists soon as a way to reboot their struggling visitor economies.
In spite of this, some countries like South Africa are not looking to reopen their borders any time soon as a way to protect its inhabitants from the Covid-19 virus.
South Africa’s Department of Tourism in a government briefing on 27th May said it didn’t expect domestic tourism to be fully allowed until December this year, and that international tourism wouldn’t return at all until February 2021.
In a further statement on 30th May, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, the Minister of Tourism said: ‘The first phase of the recovery for the sector will be driven by domestic tourism, followed by regional tourism and international tourism next year.’ That’s unfortunate news for anyone who had a Table Mountain hike or Kruger National Park safari on their 2020 bucket list.
This news is however not accepted by all as industry groups in the country are lobbying the government for an earlier reopening. At a parliamentary committee meeting scheduled for 9th June, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa said it would argue ‘unequivocally’ for international tourism to return as early as September.
As it stands now, South Africa is the most affected country in sub-Saharan Africa by the outbreak of the pandemic. On Thursday 4th June, the country recorded its highest number of cases in a day- 3,627 cases.
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