IN QUOTES | Tourism minister says SA will open to 'most countries' for international travel
As SA prepares for the reopening of international borders, tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has vowed that the country will open to “most countries” this week.
Speaking during an event on Monday to commemorate the last few days of Tourism Month, Kubayi-Ngubane said the cabinet’s decision to open the country’s borders to most countries was a significant milestone in placing the sector on an "irreversible path" to full recovery.
Restrictions on international travel for business, leisure and other travel will take effect from October 1. Travellers will be allowed to travel into and out of SA from countries deemed to carry less of a risk for Covid-19.
Here are key quotes from Kubayi-Ngubane's address:
International travel to SA
“We expect that travellers will prefer to travel to countries that offer a greater diversity of attractions so that they don’t have to travel to multiple countries to enjoy different activities.
“Despite being a long-haul travel destination, SA will be a preferred destination because it offers diverse tourism products in addition to the great weather and the warmth of its people.”
“We would like to convey our sincere thanks to the many South Africans who have heeded the call to get out there and travel their country, helping to save businesses and jobs.
“I am quite confident that at the rate at which South Africans are travelling, we are well on our way to make domestic tourism the main pillar of the tourism sector.”
“The vibrancy of the domestic tourism we have witnessed is in line with what our recovery plan had envisaged, which is that the recovery will happen in phases.
“In this regard, we predicted that the recovery will start with domestic tourism, then regional land and air markets, and lastly, resumption of worldwide international travel.”
Calls for local pricing
“We are mindful that a significant portion of the supply market is geared for international tourism so that the pricing is unaffordable for segments of domestic travellers.
“We are appealing to this market to be innovative and adapt their products for the needs of the local market. Incentives such as affordable rates, discounts, upgrades and enticing packages will go a long way.”
New biosecurity standards
“The public and private sector will have to find ways of working together to ensure business continuity, aligning the value-chain to new biosecurity standards, as well as investment facilitation and market access.
“The rising domestic demand which will soon be augmented by the international market when we open the borders will have to be met by sufficient supply-side infrastructure. This is a very critical element of our road to recovery.”