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Tourism Business Council pushes for borders to open as soon as next month

Businesses in the sector are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief after the tourism department published a new draft recovery plan.

FILE: Passengers making their way to check-in points at OR Tambo International Airport for the first time since restrictions were eased under level 3 regulations for business travel. Picture: Bonga Dlulane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Tourism Business Council of South Africa on Tuesday said many people are showing interest in travelling to South Africa post the COVID-19 lockdown.

Businesses in the sector are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief after the tourism department published a new draft recovery plan.

The industry, which has taken a hard knock during the COVID-19 lockdown, has seen massive job losses and forced many to shut their doors.

The department’s new draft recovery plan comes days after Minister Mmaloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced that intra-provincial travelling for leisure would be permitted.

This move is expected to mostly boost the hospitality industry.

The draft plan also details international and local predictions for when tourism may open to international travel.

The council's chief executive officer Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said they were pushing for boarders to open as soon as next month.

“We have had many people inquiring from the trade and partners that we have been asking when we are opening up because we have groups of people who want to come to South Africa.”

The tourism council said it predicts that at least 600,000 direct tourism jobs will be lost in South Africa this year alone.

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