South Africa’s domestic and international tourism is set to open in December 2020 and February 2021 respectively, the chairpersons of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism and the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labor have revealed.
In a press statement released by the South African Parliamentary Communication Services, the chairpersons expressed that even though in level 3 of the lockdown commencing on 1 June 2020, certain areas of business tourism would be able to operate, domestic travel and the much-anticipated international tourism remained suspended.
“In the meantime, the Department of Tourism must continue to work closely with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that the world-class e-visa regimes continue to be developed in more countries and implemented,” read the statement.
The committees further appealed to the Tourism Department to focus now on the factors affecting job losses due to businesses in the tourism sector being closed.
“Tourism is the most affected sector of all sectors during the lockdown as a result of Covid-19,” said the committees.
They added that Minister of Tourism had informed the them that the Department was to submit the Tourism Amendment Bill after the finalisation of the White Paper on Tourism, which will be at the end of this financial year.
“In the meantime, whilst the department is drafting the Tourism Recovery Plan, we are confident that the liaison that is happening with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional of Tourism Affairs will ensure that local economic development finds its rightful place in villages, townships and small towns, which is where poverty, inequality and unemployment are more prevalent,” said the Chair of the Portfolio Committee, Supra Mahumapelo.
He added that they were awaiting a report from the Department of Tourism on the capital projects of the fifth administration, some of which have been lying abandoned.