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Asata: Definitive date for reopening of int'l travel needed for sector survival

CEO at Asata, Otto de Vries, said that domestic leisure travel was not a real money maker and therefore most agents were not working.

Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (Asata) said that a definitive date for the reopening of international travel was needed to ensure the survival of the travel industry.

Earlier this week, STA Travel announced its global closure.

Inter-provincial travel was reopened under level 2 lockdown last week, but international travel remains prohibited.

CEO at Asata, Otto de Vries, said that domestic leisure travel was not a real money maker and therefore most agents were not working.

"When there's no travel, there's no sales. Essentially overnight the entire industry went from a R40 billion to a zero industry."

Despite this dire situation, De Vries explained that local businesses had proven their mettle during the lockdown.

"Generally speaking, the closures have not nearly been as high as we anticipated. I'm incredibly impressed by the agility as well as the sustainability that our industry has shown."

De Vries said that a definite date for international travel would allow agents and tour operators to start compiling travel packages for the safe return of international, corporate and leisure travel.

This planning time is important because travellers are expected to rely, more than ever, on the knowledge and expertise of travel advisors.

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