Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Monday evening about the closure of some beaches, longer curfew, alcohol restrictions and other guidelines for the festive season, the tourism industry appears to support the President’s attempt to protect South Africans’ lives as Covid-19 cases soar and SA experiences its second wave of infections.
There is a lot to do in the Eastern Cape besides the beach – Andrew Stark, flight centre
Otto de Vries, CEO ASATA (Association of Southern African Travel Agents) says:
“ASATA has reiterated its commitment to industry’s compliance with stringent health and hygiene protocols. We need now the full compliance of the health and hygiene protocols that have been put in place by the sector, no compromise.
“It’s up to us to ensure we don’t go back to where we were before and that means proper implementation of the comprehensive protocols that have been devised specifically for our sector and managing the compliance of our customers, guests and travellers. It really is that simple. It’s in our hands.”
Andrew Stark, MD of Flight Centre Travel Group RSA notes:
“The President – and the South African government – have taken a very balanced approach to keeping the economy going and allowing people to travel while at the same time focusing on saving lives.
“If we think back to where we’ve been before – until now the government has used the blunt instrument of a hard and severe lockdown. As South Africans, we’ve been through tougher times. We currently still remain in Level 1, and we still have the flexibility to travel and get outside and move. We just have limited choice as as to what we can do in most destinations: be it the curfew, be it alcohol sales, be it restaurants, be it beach accessibility. KZN is seeing beach closures on the busiest days of the Festive Season, while a harder stance is taken for the Eastern Cape possibly because of more limited capacity in hospitals in those areas.
“We need to remember that we’ve all got a responsibility to act responsibly and stay in our immediate bubbles. It is a time to celebrate, but if we don’t pull together South Africans, it could be a disastrous Christmas and a disastrous start to 2021. I think all South Africans want a better start to 2021 compared to the late start we experienced in 2020 in February this year.
“People are still allowed to travel and go on their holidays, but they’re being asked to travel responsibly. There is a lot to do in the Eastern Cape besides the beach. I’ve been on holiday to the Eastern Cape and only went to the beach once or twice because the weather wasn’t great. It’s a great time to spend with loved ones. And, if the beach is a non-negotiable for some travellers, Flight Centre can help re-accommodate them to other South African destinations. There are still many options available.”
Peter Dros, Sales and Marketing Director, of Fancourt says:
“Fancourt appreciates the government’s consideration of the tourism industry in issuing the new restrictions. The fact that travel hasn’t come to a complete standstill allows us to keep our doors open and our staff employed. Fancourt is complying fully with health and safety protocols and ensuring that our staff, members and guests are doing the same. Within the last week we took the decision to postpone some planned events; we have limited restaurant numbers and are practising social distancing at all times. We understand that the heightened restrictions have been put in place to keep people safe – and we appreciate that government has kept the tourism industry and tourism jobs in mind when making these decisions.”