Members of the tourism industry, across all sectors, have until the end of this week to make submissions on health and operational protocols that could be implemented to make tourism safer.

CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, told Tourism Update that the protocols were being developed – with input from industry (through various associations) – as part of de-risking the negative impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector and to ensure a faster return to market during COVID-19.

The process forms part of the industry-wide Tourism Recovery Plan, which is led by South African Tourism in partnership with TBCSA.

Tshivhengwa pointed out that since the call for submissions went out to the sector last week, TBCSA had received close to 3 000 submissions.

A third were incomplete but the 2 000 completed submissions came from across the nine provinces, from big and small industry operators, local tourism chambers and from both TBCSA members and non-members.

“As TBCSA, we are pleased and encouraged by how the tourism industry has heeded the call and united to make submissions, which are key to our industry’s timely and safe recovery. Throughout this pandemic, the sector has stood together and the same is true as we pave a new path toward recovery,” said Tshivhengwa.

The submissions spell out the mechanism that will be put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within tourism.

According to Tshivhengwa, the next steps in the process are absolutely crucial to the sector’s recovery. He encouraged all stakeholders in the tourism and travel sector to make submissions to – either via their associations or as individuals.

“At the end of this week, we will consolidate the industry’s input, then prepare a submission to government for further engagement on the de-risking of the tourism sector,” he said.