Despite tourist guides being allowed to resume operations – as announced on May 30 by Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane – there is still no clarity as to what services they can provide.

The National Federation of Tourist Guides and Affiliates (NFTGA) Spokesperson, Francois Collin, told Tourism Update that it had advised all its members to adhere to the regulations released on Monday (June 29).

“Nothing says that we can do tourist guiding as everything in the gazetted regulations refers to self-drive,” said Collin. “We do not recommend any tourist guide to operate at this time. We must adhere to what has been gazetted.”

He said the regulations did not specify how tourist guides could operate within the intra-provincial travel regulation. “Until there are regulations from the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) or the National Department of Tourism that clarify tourist guide operations, we can’t do anything,” he said.

“The NFTGA wants to ensure we’re working with government and we want tourist guides to follow the gazetted regulations. We understand that many tourist guides are facing massive financial strain.”

Tourism Business Council of South Africa CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, told Tourism Update that it had provided government with the final protocols on how various sectors of the tourism industry could resume operations safely.

“Part of the regulation says that certain tourist attractions remain closed and we are lobbying for their reopening and asking government what else needs to be done further than the protocols we have submitted,” he explained.

Further calls for clarity

Since Kubayi Ngubane’s briefing on Friday (June 29), there have been further calls for clarity on the reopening of a number of aspects of the tourism sector.

Minister of Finance & Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, has called on Kubayi-Ngubane to urgently confirm that accommodation for leisure is permitted under Advanced Level 3 in a media statement. “Allowing these businesses to open safely will help to minimise further job losses in the Western Cape,” said Maynier.

“We cannot afford the confusion, and so we call on the Minister of Tourism to urgently clarify and confirm that the regulations do indeed permit accommodation for leisure purposes.”

Maynier said they firmly believe that there are further aspects of the sector that can open safely under Advanced Level 3, such as parks, beaches and other open-air and outdoor tourism attractions.

In the absence of official written clarity to the contrary, SATSA has highlighted that it supports the position taken by the TBCSA on the interpretation of Advanced Level 3 regulations that “formally accredited and licensed accommodation” be allowed to operate domestic leisure travel within provincial borders.
“As is good and proper, we fully endorse the position of and take our lead from the TBCSA, our apex association, with which we have been working closely throughout this COVID-19 crisis,” said David Frost, CEO of SATSA.