Parliament wants departments to work together over coronavirus
Parliament's portfolio committee on tourism says the novel coronavirus outbreak highlights the need for interdepartmental co-ordination to minimise the threat of it spreading to the country.
In a statement issued on behalf of chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, the committee raised questions on the readiness of government for the global outbreak of the virus, which has so far infected more than 20,000 people and left more than 400 dead across the globe.
“The outbreak of the coronavirus puts the spotlight on the need for SA to focus on the African continent for inbound tourism. This also emphasises the need to further develop domestic tourism to act as a buffer for the tourism sector whenever such outbreaks occur,” Mahumapelo said.
The virus has reportedly spread to 18 countries and has “negative consequences for trade and tourism in SA as the tourism sector is a globalised economic phenomenon”.
Based on these reports, the committee said, it was imperative for the tourism sector to be ready should an incident involving tourists occur.
The committee has called for the home affairs, health, trade and industry, public enterprises and tourism departments to work together to develop a strategy that looked beyond the current virus outbreak to deal with any eventuality.
This was necessary, according to the committee, because SA's airports were gateways to neighbouring countries and Africa at large.