Kubayi-Ngubane: SA tourism sector's road to recovery has now begun

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane described the coronavirus pandemic as one of the biggest challenges the country had ever faced.

FILE: Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: www.tourism.gov.za

PRETORIA - CAPE TOWN - Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that the coronavirus pandemic had devastated South Africa’s tourism industry.

Kubayi-Ngubane made the announcement during a virtual media briefing on Wednesday. It follows President Cyril Ramaphosa's address on Saturday when he announced that the country would move to alert level 2.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane described the pandemic as one of the biggest challenges the country had ever faced. She said that the road to recovery had begun.

“Our intention is to start, as soon as possible, to work with the sector to implement the recovery plan. We are mindful that this is critical, as tourism is one of the pillars of South Africa’s growth.”

She explained that various tourism activities would be allowed under level 2 lockdown and urged people to continue social distancing and wearing masks.

“Our main goal is to ensure that no tourism facility becomes a source of spread of the pandemic. We are encouraged that since the beginning of the opening of the sector, we have done well. We have not seen us being a source of the spread. I want to say to the sector and to all who participate, let’s keep this up.”

Kubayi-Ngubane added that the department was “highly encouraged” by the interest shown by local and international investors.

“This gives hope that the supply side of our sector will not only recovery but has the potential to surpass where we were prior to the pandemic.”

The following changes will take effect under level 2:

  • All restrictions on inter-provincial travel will be lifted.

  • Visits to family and friends permitted in small groups.

  • Accommodation, hospitality venues and tours will be permitted according to approved protocols to ensure social distancing.

  • Restaurants, bars and taverns will be permitted to operate according to approved protocols as to times of operation and numbers of people.

  • Alcohol may be served in all licenced restaurants.

  • Restrictions on the sale of tobacco will be lifted.

  • The suspension of the sale of alcohol will be lifted subject to certain restrictions.

  • Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licenced establishments only up until 10pm.

  • Liquor outlets will be allowed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption from Monday to Thursday during the hours of 9am to 5pm only.

  • Restrictions on family and social visits will also be lifted, although everyone is urged to exercise extreme caution and undertake such visits only if necessary.

  • Gyms and fitness centres will reopen with strict health and safety protocols in place.

  • Parks, beaches and nature reserves will be open for outdoor activity.

The following restrictions will remain in place:

  • It remains mandatory to wear a mask in public.

  • Current restrictions on international travel will remain in place.

  • No gatherings of more than 50 people will be permitted. Among others, this includes funerals and religious events.

  • Spectators will not be permitted at sporting events.

  • The curfew will remain in place between the hours of 10pm and 4am.

WATCH: Kubayi-Ngubane briefs media on COVID-19 impact on tourism sector