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SSouth Africa’s domestic tourism sector is open and ready for South Africans to once again explore and enjoy their country. This was part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Saturday evening, when he stated that cabinet has decided to place the entire country on alert level 2 with effect from midnight on Monday, 17 August 2020.
“The permitting of inter-provincial leisure and business travel is much welcome, needed and very encouraging. As envisioned, this is part of a phased approach to the opening up of tourism activities with domestic tourism being at the forefront, followed by regional and ultimately international travel. As South African Tourism, working together with the sector, we have used the quiet lockdown period to develop plans to ensure that travel is safe and accessible for the many South Africans who have been patiently waiting to travel again,” says South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona.
The move to alert level 2 means the resumption of economic activity across most industries including: lifting of restrictions on inter-provincial travel for all purposes. This further opening of the tourism sector comes at the back of the resumption of domestic business air travel at the beginning of June and business conferences of no more than 50 people being permitted to take place later in the same month.
“The opening of domestic travel is momentous for the sector, as it has been so severely and negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. I would like to thank the sector for collaborating and partnering towards an inclusive and safe recovery. We still have a long way to go, but our joint efforts will continue to yield positive results that will contribute towards the betterment of all tourism businesses,” says Ntshona.
“Whilst our regional and international borders remain closed, we know many South Africans have been eager to get out of their provinces for various reasons including visiting family and friends and to also enjoy some leisure activities. The time has come. Through our various campaigns, we encourage them to safely go out there and get to know their country again and enjoy all those experiences they have been longing for in the past few months,” adds Ntshona.
Whilst elated about the further easing of restrictions, Ntshona emphasised the importance of continuing to practise safety measures including wearing of masks, washing hands and still maintaining social distancing.
“The pandemic is still with us and we have to make sure that we do not regress in all the gains we have made so far in managing it. Our industry has put in place globally-benchmarked health and safety protocols to ensure that all travellers and tourism sector employees are safe. We therefore urge all domestic travellers to play their part by continuing to practise safety measures. We need to remain committed to flattening the curve in order for our sector grow again and to be attractive to visitors when we are ready to reopen our regional and international borders,” he adds
Ntshona concludes by inviting South Africans to take advantage of September being both Tourism and Heritage Month, to travel and get to know our country’s beautiful heritage.
For more information and further updates please visit: www.southafrica.net.
For enquiries, please contact:
Thandiwe Mathibela at South African Tourism