As South Africa readies itself to welcome international guests from 1 October, the country should focus both on international and domestic travellers, says tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
The minister said in an address on Monday (28 September), that the government’s approach to the domestic and the international market should not be that of preference of one over the other.
“It is for this reason that we think the sector must seriously consider introducing a two-tier system that would ensure that both international and domestic travellers get value money on packages they both can afford,” she said.
Kubayi-Ngubane said that South Africa’s history of racial discrimination and skewed resource allocation is still seen in who has access to tourism products.
“I will repeat the appeal I made yesterday about pricing. We are appealing to the tourism sector market to introduce incentives such as affordable rates, discounts, upgrades and enticing packages so that more South Africans can have the opportunity to explore the country of their birth, thus giving them a proper sense of belonging.
“I am again calling on all sector players in the private sector to collaborate with us in creating a conducive environment to entice South Africans to travel their country,” she said.
In an address on Sunday, Kubayi-Ngubane said that since government opened inter-provincial travel under level 2 lockdown, she has been travelling across the various provinces visiting establishments and meeting with travellers and establishment owners.
“I am happy to report that many of the establishments are ready to reopen if not already opened and South Africans are very keen to travel their own country,” she said.
“Across the country, South Africans are sending me messages and pictures of their tourism experiences. South Africans are taking their families and friends to adventures, for game drives, hiking and other kinds of memorable tourism experiences that our country has to offer.
“After six months of lockdown, South Africans are going all out to rediscover their country.”
The minister said that the ‘vibrancy’ of the domestic tourism sector is in line with the government’s recovery plan which will happen in phases.
“In this regard, we predicted that the recovery will start with domestic tourism, then regional land and air markets, and lastly, resumption of world-wide international travel,” she said.