South Africa is a bucket list destination for any traveller – the Kruger National Park is home to the Big Five, the iconic Table Mountain is a must-see and its beaches are unparalleled in beauty. But it could be a while until it welcomes tourists back.
At a briefing on May 27, it was reported that South Africa’s Department of Tourism predict that domestic tourism won’t resume until December this year, while international tourism won’t resume until February 2021.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said in an additional announcement on May 30: “Based on the COVID-19 epidemic expected trajectory, the first phase of the recovery for the sector will be driven by domestic tourism, followed by regional tourism and international tourism next year.”
He continued: “The past two months of lockdown have been difficult for the tourism sector. We continued to see many businesses in the sector fighting for survival and our projections showed that almost 600,000 jobs were at risk if the sector doesn’t come into operation by September 2020.
“This reality led to both the government and private sector working together… to get the sector back into operation. As we open up the sector, we are therefore confident that measures have been put in place to protect our employees, suppliers, tourists and all those who are involved with the sector.”
© Getty Cape Town city view, traveling to South Africa, many houses on the seashore, beautiful urban panorama, high mountains, summer vacation conceptSouth Africa went into lockdown in March to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, it moved to Level 3 of its lockdown plan which has allowed many to return to work, including a full reopening of the retail sector. However, there will still be a fair few restrictions in place – exercise can only be done between the hours of 6am and 6pm, and South Africans will be required to wear masks at all times while outdoors.
Under Level 3, domestic tourists will be able to visit private and public game ‘farms’ on a self-drive basis but leisure travel remains prohibited.
The news could be a blow for those hoping to visit the nation this year but visiting in 2021 looks promising. Many European countries are beginning to open their borders , albeit some with stricter regulations than others, and the UK is also in talks with Portugal about forming an air bridge – so no need to scrap your 2020 holiday plans just yet.