Tourism in Lockdown

Tourism in Lockdown

Tourism MUST move to a higher lockdown level to survive

After the initial shock that the Covid19 Virus had arrived in South Africa, the realization that tourism is probably going to be the very last sector to recover seeped into everyday discussions.

Based on the webinar from South Africa Tourism on 11 May here is an update of the current situation with links to submitting protocol guidelines that are urgently being called for to move tourism higher up in the lockdown levels.

Without doubt South Africans believe that although we have no clue when we are going to move between levels, this movement depends on the trajectory of the pandemic and the sliding scale is based on variables beyond our control.

Leisure tourism is projected to be active at level 1 with business tourism coming online slightly ahead in level 2. Based on the current trajectory with September 2020 forecast to be the peak of infection, it is therefore clear that level 2 will start in November and Level 1 in January 2021. Our industry simply cannot wait too many businesses will just not survive until then.

Government’s aim is to hold the pandemic back, on the other hand tourism is about moving people to different areas. What protocols in terms of health and operations can we put in place to de-risk the sector in order to move tourism into a higher lockdown level?

All Tourism Associations are calling for urgent submissions from members and non- members which will be collated and submitted to government through the Tourism Minister.

These guideline submissions (de-risking) will hopefully enable certain aspects of the industry to re-open before levels 1 and 2 thereby giving tourism a better chance of recovery.

Have your voice heard:

Here are the links to submit your recommendations:
Also visit or

Submissions close 12:00 midday Thursday 14 May.

Finally, SA Tourism believes that recovery will be led by domestic then regional, followed by international bookings. Key source markets will clearly also need to be in-line with destinations, no matter how prepared we are if those countries are not able to travel there is little chance of seeing business from those source markets.

VFR’s (Visiting Friends and Relatives) will probably start first and are categorized as
Phase 1, with not much revenue generation.
Phase 2 will generate revenue with overnights and air travel.
Phase 1 is expected to be mainly self-drive travel.Phase 2 being air travel across Africa. We cannot assume that the same airlines will be operating and in the same schedules. Re-negotiations will be needed because we will want to link with other countries that have managed their pandemic well.
International | Long Haul
Phase 1 International carriers resume flights under globally accepted safety standards (not yet in place)
Phase 2 full recovery in progress

covid-19 and tourism

Covid-19 and tourism- An SMME’S thoughts

How is Covid-19 affecting tourism SMME’s in South Africa. What effect is the full lock down having on the smaller tourism players? Many tourism stakeholders are in shock and are scrambling to survive in the wake of the Covid-19 virus.

There is a mood of deep concern among industry players. There is also one of rallying around supporting one another with many group chats and emails sharing encouragement. Today, I was alerted to the possibility of creating a tourism support network into the healthcare system. This would involve collaboration between hotels, transport and catering suppliers. 

I understand from tourism authorities and large hotel chain management that we are looking not so much at recovery but rather towards re-configuration. The belief is that inbound tourism needs to look deeply at customer needs and reverse engineer offerings that suit demand. This is especially important when considering that the global competition is going to be strong.

The understanding is that recovery will be led by local consumption, with corporate travel probably leading the way. Personally, as a small SMME I am reliant on clients to pay their monthly retainers for my marketing services. As a result of my clients not being paid, the problem flows downstream and they, in turn, are not able to pay me.

Of particular concern, is that some of South Africa’s inbound giants are withholding payments to suppliers for guests who have already travelled, and in fact are back in their home country. These same corporations are asking my clients to also not charge cancellation fees – making this a double loss for suppliers into the tourism value chain.

This too will pass, but how long can we sustain ourselves until then? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Keep up-to-date on the Covid-19 Situation in South Africa – visit