September is the target date for the reopening of international tourism to South Africa. The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) presented the Tourism Recovery Strategy to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Tourism supporting this date.
The TBCSA highlighted that the reopening would be dependent on the development and roll-out of stringent and practical health-focused protocols by the travel and tourism value-chain to safeguard staff, travelers and guests.
“We acknowledge the good work being done by the government to get tourism back on track. Tourism is a vital sector in South Africa’s economy and accounts for 1.5 million jobs; many of those employed are young people. By nature of tourism’s value chain, there are also significant benefits to other parts of the economy when tourism reopens. We are committed to doing this safely,” says Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, TBCSA CEO.
The TBCSA’s proposed Tourism Recovery Strategy acknowledges that a phased approach will be required for the responsible reopening of international tourism to South Africa. A “calculated, driven, aggressive and gradual” re-entry of tourism into the economy is essential, said the TBCSA.
“We are committed to a safe and responsible plan to reopening our tourism sector. We know that the public sector and our private-sector tourism stakeholders are all equally as committed to this goal. This is our sector,” concludes Tshivhengwa.
A recent South African Tourism survey revealed that almost two-thirds of international travelers are ready to travel immediately after the lifting of international travel restrictions or within a year thereafter.
According to the study, 45% of the international tourists will avoid travel while another 45% are inclined to either travel as they did in the past or travel more. The other 10% are indecisive about their travel prospects.
The tourists who will avoid international travel say they will prefer destinations in their own country until it is safe enough to cross the borders. On the other hand, tourists keen to travel are wary of potential price hikes and affordability of travel. The SA Tourism Brand Tracker Study shows that affordability of ticket pricing is the second most significant barrier to travel to South Africa.