The Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, on Monday said she hoped that the country’s borders would be opened to all countries before the December holidays. According to the minister the list of countries banned from travelling to South Africa is reassessed. Countries are banned due to high Covid-19 infection rates. Several European countries are currently battling a spike in the number of infections, a so-called second wave.
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane visited Limpopo last week aiming to boost local tourism.
The Palala Boutique Game Lodge and Spa in the Limpopo province was hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown and serves as a stark reminder of the crisis the world is currently facing. With 22 countries still not allowed into South Africa due to their high number of coronavirus infections, the tourism industry is now relying on local tourists for an economic boost.
Kubayi-Ngubane said that even though South Africa desperately needed the international economic boost, it could not risk a second wave of Covid-19 infections. “The tourism sector would lose a lot of jobs and a lot more businesses would go under. We do believe that we have a second chance to try and recover and anything that can happen can literally take us backwards (sic).”
The travel ban on these countries also adversely affects the hunting season in South Africa said the minister. Limpopo, which is one of the country’s poorest provinces, relies heavily on the hunting season for a much-needed economic injection. “They need to get permits now for January so with the uncertainty of their own borders, it is worrying. We are watching closely at what happens there because from our side we are making progress for a number of countries to be able to come but we are worried about us opening 100% – you win that battle at opening 100%, only to find that other countries are closing (sic).”