Government plans more long-term rules for travel, weddings, and rentals in South Africa

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has published a draft ‘norms and standards’ proposal document which aims to allow for the safe operation of the tourism sector during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Kubayi-Ngubane said that the purpose of the document is to provide minimum universal practices which the tourism sector must abide by to prevent the spread of Covid-19. A key factor in the intent behind the document, is that the tourism sector needs to adapt to a world that has to co-exist with the virus.

The protocols are intended to align with global standards set by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, and to ensure that travellers, tourists, delegates or guests are secure in knowing the proper sanitation and preventative measures are in place.

“The norms and standards will also provide uniformity across the destination in view of tools that have been compiled by industry associations and some sub-national entities,” she said.

The minister said that concerns related to safety and health have increased in significance as a result of Covid-19, owing to its contagious nature, and approaches to tourism in the future are to be informed by this reality.

“In developing norms and standards for the safe operation of the tourism sector, the objective is to facilitate consensus on minimum universal practices which the sector overall will abide by to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

The guideline applies to a number of sectors including;

  • Tourism establishments;
  • Short-term rentals;
  • Events
  • Weddings;
  • Meetings;
  • Exhibitions
  • Accommodations.

While each of these sectors will have different requirements, the document indicates that the expectations are largely the same  – a focus on staff preparedness and providing a safe experience.

Staff and hosts preparedness

A person in charge of accommodation must:

  • Train the host and staff on the health and safety protocols, in line with latest local and international health guidelines;
  • Outline to staff and the host cleaning, infection control and disinfection processes on safety measures, including frequent sanitising and hand washing;
  • Encourage the use of electronic payment methods on check-in and out, where possible; and
  • Develop an action plan outlining the process of handling Covid-19 cases.

Safe experience 

A person in charge must:

  • Adopt enhanced frequent cleaning, sanitisation and disinfecting measures;
  • Communicate health and safety protocols to guests prior to arrival;
  • Communicate rules on physical distancing, wearing of face masks and sanitising; and
  • Communicate to guests the completion of the health declaration forms and relevant contact information, in advance.

Read: More countries block flights and travel to and from South Africa

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Government plans more long-term rules for travel, weddings, and rentals in South Africa