South Africa ready to host events again, after remaining Covid-19 regulations scrapped

Business Insider SA
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
  • South Africa's Covid-19 regulations have been repealed, allowing venues and events to fill to full capacity.
  • This comes as a major boost for the country's embattled tourism and hospitality sectors.
  • The country's meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions industry welcomed almost a million business delegates before the pandemic.
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South Africa's interlinked tourism, hospitality, and events sectors are expected to boom on the back of government repealing the last remaining Covid-19 regulations.

South Africa has no more regulations governing the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as per a repeal notice gazetted by Health Minister Joe Phaahla on Wednesday evening.

Face masks are no longer required in any public-use indoor space or when on public transport. Travellers entering the country don't have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and won't need to produce a negative test result either. Social gatherings aren't limited to certain numbers of attendees.

The scrapping of all Covid-19 regulations has been welcomed by the tourism and hospitality sector, which were badly bruised by two years of pandemic-induced restrictions. The latest repeal makes it easier for tourists to visit South Africa, and dropping restrictions on social gatherings makes it possible for the country's embattled events sector to rebound at full capacity.

"We are absolutely thrilled that government has lifted the restriction of 50%-only capacity in conferences, events, exhibitions, musical events, and big stadium events," said Rosemary Anderson, national chairperson of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA).

"This will really help our industry get back on its feet because we now have clarity and certainties. We can actually plan in advance, which is exactly what our industry needs. We've got lots of work to do to catch up all the events and conferences that we lost, especially in the international market, but our industry is resilient, and we really are determined to try to do that."

Prior to the pandemic, South Africa's meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions industry hosted close to a million business delegates annually. With capacity limitations now dropped, the sector is hoping to welcome back these international visitors, which, in 2019, accounted for more than 11% of South Africa's foreign tourism market.

"The lifting of the existing restrictions is a much-needed boost for both leisure tourism and business tourism live events and exhibitions," said Carol Weaving, managing director of RX Africa, Reed Exhibitions.

"The capacity is a commercial issue, and it's affecting all businesses. For us to be able to get back to some sort of normality, which in turn helps feed the economy, is really important. This is a very welcome announcement."

Reacting to the repeal notice, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said that all restrictions would immediately be lifted at the city's facilities and buildings.

"This includes capacity limitations at facilities, the compulsory wearing of face masks, and compulsory hand sanitising at the entrances to facilities," said Hill-Lewis on Thursday morning.

"This means residents will once again be able to fill our stadia, sports facilities, clinic waiting rooms, payment halls and so on."

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