While the Democratic Alliance (DA) is pleased to learn that travel agents, tour operators and tour guides may now operate under the level 3 lockdown regulations, the continued ban of leisure travel defeats the purpose of their return.
The tourism and travel sector caters mostly for the leisure market, and they essentially have no product to sell as the rest of the tourism supply chain is currently inoperable due to ongoing restrictions.
How does Tourism Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, expect tour operators and guides to make any sort of income when the government continues to ban tourists? This demonstrates that the Minister has no understanding of business and the tourism supply chain.
The DA will write to the Minister and will urge her to amend the regulations that will allow the tourism supply chain to operate. In doing so, this will immediately place thousands of businesses and jobs previously currently under threat on a path to recovery.
The tourism sector is currently hemorrhaging, and while business travel has been permitted, the sector will continue to suffer as long as leisure travel is restricted. The DA acknowledges that international travelers will be apprehensive about travelling abroad at this time, however, the sector should at least be open to domestic leisure travel before the sector completely collapses.
The inconsistency of government and its lack of forward planning is astonishing. The level 3 regulations must allow for domestic travel of all descriptions and the reopening of accommodation establishments within the parameters of social distancing practice and the use of hygiene and safety protection protocols. The tourism and travel sector cannot remain in limbo while the tourism minister will “see how things go”.
In the case of business travel which is permitted, although this is the case, such persons may not have accommodation available to them to stay in due to the same regulations which disallow the operating of accommodation establishments. Although the DA welcomes the reopening of business travel, government has provided no reasons why leisure travel can’t reopen as well.
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