Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, has acknowledged some of the challenges facing the South African tourism sector currently and has called on her team at the Department of Tourism to offer urgent recommendations on how to support businesses in the sector.
Tourism Update asked readers what the Ministry/Department could do to assist businesses, as well as what she should prioritise to ensure growth and recovery of the sector as a whole.
Owner of Venture to Africa, Janice Campbell, weighed in:
“As a small company that is still hanging in there (particularly as we have some American and French travellers in SA and Namibia at present), we have been lucky in having some amazing and flexible ground handlers for tours, transfers etc – proof that things are working and guests are happy.
SA has to stand with at least other SADC countries in trying to improve the COVID testing issues. All our clients presently travelling are fully vaccinated and were happy to take a test prior to coming to SA and Namibia.
The US clients now have to take three more tests – to get into Botswana, into Vic Falls and back into SA. This is time-consuming and expensive. Surely (as Botswana is doing on its own initiative and in addition) a rapid Antigen test would suffice on arrival in each country being visited.
I am sure that the Minister knows/acknowledges that SA does not stand alone as a tourism destination. Although many do travel just to SA, it is also a port of entry to neighbouring states.
More has to be done for regional assistance re testing/barriers to entry and travel. Without this, many people are put off travelling at present. As things stand, we have lost much of the hub status, with Zimbabwe and Zambia getting more direct international flights.
Now, more than ever, is a time for neighbouring states to stand together and try to assist each other (although this is probably just a dream).
With the Government not having funds, the only way to assist tourism entities is to get more tourists. The UK lobbying issue is a good idea, but why is it being done privately? As has been asked before, just how is SA Tourism’s budget being spent? Can we actually get an update on what it is being spent on ‘selling’ SA internationally?
It would be great just to know that something is actually being done.”