Government ‘hopes’ to open borders to all countries by December

Posted by Anita Froneman on 26 October 2020

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said she ‘hoped’ that the list banning certain high-risk countries from entering South Africa will be scrapped in time for the festive season.

December is peak holiday season in South Africa and Kubayi-Ngubane told EWN that although the country desperately needs the financial input of international tourists from several countries that are banned, we cannot afford a second wave of COVID-19.

Government 'hopes' to open borders to all countries by December

She added that government is monitoring Europe’s infection rates meticulously as they review the ‘red list’ every two weeks.

‘We are watching closely at what happens there [in Europe] because from our side we are making progress for a number of countries to be able to come but we are worried about us opening 100% – you win that battle at opening 100%, only to find that other countries are closing.

The latest list of high-risk countries was released on October 19.

‘The tourism sector would lose a lot of jobs and a lot more businesses would go under. We do believe that we have a second chance to try and recover and anything that can happen can literally take us backwards,’ Kubayi-Ngubane added.

Read: Western Cape government pushes to change travel regulations

In the meantime, the tourism industry is pulling out all the stops to try and stay afloat. During an address on October 21, Kubayi-Ngubane commented on government’s efforts to revive the industry:

‘We are already implementing our aggressive domestic marketing strategy, encouraging South Africans to travel their country since the end of the lockdown. The response to these campaigns has been overwhelming, South Africans have responded beyond expectations. The feedback I have been receiving from the sector is that domestic tourism has helped to put many tourism business back into operation and many jobs are being recovered in the sector.

‘As we gradually open up our borders for international travel in accordance with the global pandemic risk levels, we will complement this with an aggressive international marketing strategy that will be implemented in partnership with the private sector. More business and jobs will be recovered when international travel goes to full recovery.’

Also read:

How to save South Africa’s tourism by having a blast

Picture: Unsplash

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