The tourism industry, which is among the sectors contributing immensely to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), is confident about a measure of recovery by the December festive season.
An upbeat department of tourism spokesperson Blessing Manale yesterday spoke of “tangible winnings for the industry from lockdown Level 3”.
Manale said: “We’ve gained hiking, self-drive, travel agencies tour, operators.
“Hotels are now allowed to go beyond essential services to overnight business accommodation and domestic business travel is allowed.
“Sector losses have been unimaginable – never been hit like this before.”
But he was confident that tourism would bounce back in the country.
“In our three pillars [programme], we speak of short-term relief, mid-term recovery and long-term sustainability.
“We have a 10-point sector plan which is not a government plan, it is about moving from a digital market to new products and prioritising domestic tourism.
“We want the department of home affairs to prioritise e-visa processing – things that make tourism work.
“We are telling home affairs that the airlines have been down – the problem must not be the administration of visas.
“It is time to prove that we are no longer a blockage to tourism,” said Manale.