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How is Coronavirus Affecting the South African Tourism Industry?

Coronavirus causes a disease named COVID-19 (short for coronavirus disease 2019) and until now, there are more than 1,5 million confirmed cases all over the world. In South Africa, until 10 April, there were 1,934 people infected with the new virus and 18 deaths. These numbers are promising, but the health experts warn that it’s early to make brave conclusions and the situation is changing every day.

The South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa extended the national restrictions, believing that the initial two-week lockdown helped the disease to spread slowly. But, the tourism industry is highly affected, never mind the low rates of infected people. During the lockdown, air travel is prohibited, for both domestic and international flights.

What is South Africa doing to help the tourism industry during the crisis?

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The National Department of tourism in SA decided to assist with R200 million for small and medium companies in the tourism sector. They hope that this money will help the owners to overcome the economic difficulties that came with the lockdown and traveling restriction.

Tourism workers don’t think they will lose too much, because the country is doing everything to protect the citizens from the coronavirus, making hard decisions, that is very helpful. They hope that soon the tourists will be able to come to Capetown and other cities again. But, they are afraid that this crisis will decrease the prices of flights and hotels. Many domestic flight companies still offer cheap flights for April and May dates. You can find them online or click here to compare the prices. But, traveling during a crisis can be dangerous, so it’s better for you to stay home until the pandemic ends.

What happens to the tourists that are still in South Africa and couldn’t go back home?

During the lockdown, all international and domestic flights are prohibited. Many tourists had flights home after the lockdown date, so they needed to stay longer. They had problems because many accommodations needed to shut down the working process. In cases like this, the tourists need to contact their embassy or consulate or to call the domestic Ministry of foreign affairs and follow their instructions. Many countries organized private flights and transport for their citizens during the coronavirus crisis.

Sometimes, guests decide to pay for the extended stay by themselves, but many countries created quick programs that cover parts of the costs. Tourists need to be respectful about rules and prohibitions and to stay in touch with their embassies and consulates and wait for a solution.

What are SA tourism workers doing during the pandemics?

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The South African authorities decide to start a lockdown for an extended period. That causes a lot of money losses in the tourist sector, but it was a necessary step for stopping the infection spread. According to the SA president Ramaphosa, all of the citizens need to be responsible and to act together, so they can save the industry.

He recommends tourist workers to educate the staff and guests to respect the coughing etiquette and to use paper wipes or the elbow when they need to cough or sneeze. South African government opened a phone line so everyone can contact a healthcare worker if they suspect they are infected with the coronavirus.

Hotels and accommodation capacities should respect the recommendations and rules and increase hygiene standards. They need to clean the facilities properly, especially if they had tourists from the most affected countries. Sadly, many tourism workers can’t do their job as before, but if they are following the rules, the situation won’t get out of control and the world will be back to normal soon.

How is coronavirus affecting global tourism?

According to the experts, this virus can cost millions of jobs in the global tourism sector and they expect that Asia will be the worst affected. While the coronavirus was still epidemic, it put up to 50 million people at risk for losing their jobs. After WHO announced that it becomes pandemic, many people were forced to leave their jobs or to take unpaid leave until the situation gets better. Tourism is one of the most affected industries because many countries took restrictive measures for traveling.

Why coronavirus caused so many industries to collapse?

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We don’t have an official treatment for COVID-19 and fast-spreading caused many economic problems around the world. Many people got sick and they are not able to complete their job. Others needed to stay home because they are part of the critical and risky groups. Those who stayed also need to protect themselves from the infection. The whole world changed in a few months. Many businesses don’t have enough money to continue working without stopping or firing some of the employees. There are a lot of budget cuts and the governments are not able to cover all of the expenses.

After the pandemic ends, we will need a lot of time to fix the broken economy. But, at this moment, it’s more important to stay healthy, so we can still work after the researches find a proper treatment for COVID-19.

The coronavirus made big hotel chains to stop working and to cancel the reservations. That resulted in a great loss of money. Tourism is a large global market, but it’s normal to be stopped during these hard times. We can hope that everything will be better in a few months and that the number of infected people will drop soon and that there will be no more deaths caused by COVID-19 complications. A healthy population can guarantee a healthy and stable economy in the future, including the tourism industry in South Africa and all around the world.

We just need to respect the rules, wash our hands and avoid close contact with the people around us. Follow the instruction the World Health Organization provided earlier, so you can protect yourself and the people around you from the coronavirus. This chaos will end sooner if we are responsible and respectful of the rules and laws.

About Stefania Trtica