With many countries beginning to open their borders once more to tourism, it has emerged South Africa may not welcome tourists back to the country until 2021.
According to the Evening Standard, South Africa’s Department of Tourism predicts domestic tourism won’t resume until December 2020 and international tourism won’t resume until February 2021.
“Based on the COVID-19 epidemic expected trajectory, the first phase of the recovery for the sector will be driven by domestic tourism, followed by regional tourism and international tourism next year,” the Evening Standard reports Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane as saying in a statement.
“The past two months of lockdown have been difficult for the tourism sector. We continued to see many businesses in the sector fighting for survival and our projections showed that almost 600,000 jobs were at risk if the sector doesn’t come into operation by September 2020,” Kubayi-Ngubane continued. “This reality led to both the government and private sector working together… to get the sector back into operation. As we open up the sector, we are therefore confident that measures have been put in place to protect our employees, suppliers, tourists and all those who are involved with the sector.”
According to Travel+Leisure, there have been more than 37,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa and at least 790 deaths.