Travel ban crushed SA tourism

Published on : Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Several weeks ago, South African travel agents were quite hopeful about a strong summer season, mainly due to the worst of the pandemic was apparently behind them as the United States had reopened its border to the visitors from the country.

However, the appearance of Omicron variant and extensive travel bans inflicted by many countries of the world have smashed any likelihood for an instant bounce back for the tourism industry of the country. Also, they’ve put livelihoods of many travel agencies at great danger that struggled tremendously during the pandemic.

“In less than 48 hours, our outbound and indoor industry was destroyed for the next three months,” said Otto de Vries, the CEO of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents. “The knee-jerk reaction from countries around the world has been nothing short of a disaster for the (local) travel industry.”

Many figures have explained the reason. Cancelled bookings due to the travel bans have cost the tourism industry of SA more than $61.9 million (one billion rand). And 90 percent of businesses related to tourism in the Western Cape Province of the country mentioned in a survey conducted by its Department of Economic Development and Tourism that they expect their revenue between December and February to decrease due to the international bans.

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