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South African Tourism reassures leisure travellers it’s ready to reopen safely

As coronavirus cases stabilizes and further South African businesses reopen this week, the travel and tourism sector reassures travellers it is ready to reopen safely, this amid the growing demand for leisure travel.

The announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday that South Africa would be instituting Level 2 of the National Lockdown on Tuesday, August 18 , with new regulations is welcome news for many industries which have been crippled by the lockdown regulations limiting their operations.

This is particularly true for the South African travel and tourism sector, which is among the hardest hit of all industries with massive job and revenue losses.

Even with limited undertakings under level 2, which allows for inter-provincial travel for both business and leisure purposes, the reopening of the economy will provide a much-needed lifeline for tourism businesses such as the online accommodation booking system provider, NightsBridge.

The company confirmed it had recorded some 9,389 bookings across 2,646 properties for the past long weekend, with the Western Cape receiving most of the benefit. 

NightsBridge MD Theresa Emerick, says the move would be more welcome by many establishments in other provinces, especially Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo, inter-provincial leisure travel, as they rely on domestic market from Gauteng. 

“Although we only received 38% of last year’s travel volume back over the comparable weekend, there was certainly a sharp spike in bookings since the official announcement that intra-provincial leisure travel was allowed. The next steps to the reopening of the sector is inter-provincial leisure travel, which many accommodation providers in provinces surrounding Gauteng desperately need for their survival,” says Emerick.

Assessing forward bookings for South Africa’s high season, NightsBridge reports about a third of bookings (25,630) have been made for December 2020 to February 2021 versus the same point last year which saw 77,175 bookings for December 2019 to February 2020. 

‘Travel Safe – Eat Safe’ certification to build trust with South African travellers

Driving demand is the commitment by tourism providers across the value chain to ensure the safety and wellbeing of guests and staff. To this end, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has launched its Travel Safe – Eat Safe Certification Programme incorporating a robust set of tourism protocols that have received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) stamp of approval.

The stamp will allow customers to recognise businesses in South Africa which have already adopted world-class health and hygiene protocols for safe travel, indicating our readiness as a travel destination for both domestic and international guests.

Also permitted under Level 2:

• Sale of tobacco and alcohol for licensed retailer (subject to certain restrictions)

• Restaurants, hotels, taverns (allowed sell alcohol for on-site consumption)

• Family and social visits ( but still excercise extreme caution)

The following will be not be permitted:

International travel

• Gatherings of more than 50 people (funerals, religious events, concert, etc.)

• Spectators at sporting events

NB: Curfew remains in place between 10pm and 4am.

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