Cape Town and the 12 Apostels from above in South
  • South Africa will do great in a post-pandemic world, where tourists want lots of diversity without hopping between countries, tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said on Wednesday.
  • But she doesn't want to "get into trouble" by so much as speculating when South Africa's borders will open to tourists again. 
  • When government is ready to allow inbound and outbound tourism again, it will let SA know.
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The tourism industry in South Africa is facing a bright future, tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said on Wednesday, with investors lining up and, soon, post-pandemic foreign tourists keen to visit SA.

But she would not so much as speculate on when the country's borders may open again for such foreign tourists to actually visit.

"The question on the date of international travel, I always say when I talk to my sector, that at the beginning I got myself into trouble because I used my own projections to determine how we’d be able to open, and then there were a lot of challenges, so I don’t want to get into trouble," she told a press conference called to deal with the rules for the tourism sector under Level 2.

"So in terms of the risk-adjusted-strategy approach, there are no dates, we don’t work on dates, we work in terms of the risk."

Based on the level of risk, "when we are ready, government will announce when borders will be opened," she said.

Kubayi-Ngubane had little to announce when it came to Level 2 rules for tourism. Bars within hotels must honour the 22:00 curfew, she said, and Airbnb's that offer the likes of breakfast must comply with rules for all accommodation establishments that only 50% of floor space may be in use in common areas at any time.

Every type of attraction, from theme parks to zoos, may now open, she confirmed, and weddings (limited to 50 people per event) may not offer buffets.

Mostly, though, Kubayi-Ngubane painted a rosy picture of the future of the sector, where she said investors were standing ready to ensure that the supply side will soon equal what it was before the coronavirus, or will look better.

Much of her optimism is based on an analysis that holds travellers in an immediately post-pandemic world will not want to hop between countries, but will be looking for diversity.

That diversity within a single country is what South Africa plans to market.

"If they want to go to the sea they can access that, [if] they want nature reserve they are able to get that, [if] they want scenery they are able to get that. And because of our diversity in terms of products, you are either an adventurer or you are a person who loves romance or you are an active person in terms of sports, we do have all that in terms of the product, so we are comfortable in terms of Destination South Africa as a product to be able to sell it to the global market.

"We are able to say within this diversity of our products, as a destination, we can talk to young people, we can talk to couples, we can talk to families with small children, we can talk to singles, we can talk to senior citizens, we’ve got everything that any particular category is looking for."

The tourism sector will have a recovery plan as soon as her department has "consolidated inputs received", said Kubayi-Ngubane, after which it will submit a plan to cabinet.

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