SAT Statement: Tourism Risk Rating

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South Africa has a risk-adjusted strategy aimed at easing lockdown restrictions over five levels. The country is currently on level 4 with our President, Cyril Ramaphosa, having announced a plan for most of the country to move to level 3 of lockdown by the end of this month.  Addressing the nation last night, the president once again stressed that measures to contain the spread of the virus still need to be enforced.

Based on current projections, he highlighted that South Africa is likely to see an increase in the number of people infected by the COVID19 virus in the next few months. In fact, South Africa’s Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has pointed to September being projected as when South Africa will experience the peak of this pandemic.  Our government is guided by health experts and epidemiologists. This pandemic is nothing our country and in fact the world has experienced.

According to the risk adjusted strategy, currently the tourism sector is earmarked to open up primarily at level 1 and some at level 2. The movement across the levels (including duration & timelines) are purely dependent on the trajectory of the pandemic and thus any scenarios proposed or discussed are based on fluid variables. However, developed and implemented correctly, the tourism sector can open up sooner with the right measures in place that ensure the safety of tourists and employees alike.

The tourism sector is currently in the process of drafting health and operational protocols aimed at de-risking the sector. Once accepted by government, this could open the path to the quicker recovery of the sector. Consultation processes amongst the industry are underway and a formal submission will be made to government soon. The National Coronavirus Command Council is the centre of decision making in the South African government’s response to curb the spread of COVID19 (including levels) and to deal with the consequences of the pandemic. It is chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Further development would be the segmentation of the country into geographical (district level) pandemic “hotspots” where activities in the identified epicenters may be held back until the outbreak is deemed under control. Thus ‘green corridors’ may be identified to aid the safe resumption of tourism activities.

There have been several projections about the possible path the pandemic would have taken without our government’s swift and decisive action. As more data has become available these projections have been updated and refined. It is therefore extremely important to understand that all these scenarios are based on changes that happen on a daily basis depending on the spread of the pandemic. As such the scenarios and projections are reviewed and revised regularly.

We thank all our trade partners for their continued support and we commit to continuously communicate with them as we are driven by the hope and the common desire to see travel restrictions lifted and borders opening up once again.

We are encouraged by every traveller’s anticipation to enjoy South Africa’s beautiful wide open spaces, world-class wines, unique food, our rich heritage, history and our diverse cultures.

Once it is safe to travel, South Africa is certainly the country to explore to break from the confines of the limitations that we all currently face.

The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry is unprecedented and unpredictable. The nature of the content that is being shared on the ASATA coronavirus microsite is therefore constantly changing. Please check the date of the post to ascertain its recency.
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