With different parts of the world opening its doors to welcome back tourists, South Africa has joined the bandwagon and has begun staggered reopening, starting with domestic travel. Here is all we know about it. By Bayar Jain

 

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As travel restrictions begin to ease world over and skies start paving the way to welcome tourists again in its spaces, South Africa, too, has clutched onto this with both arms and has begun its process of phased reopening.

 

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After having slowed down its rate of infection through various measures and lockdowns through a risk-adjusted strategy, South Africa has taken a step towards opening up their economy and other tourism-related activities over five alert levels. When the lockdown was initially introduced in April, the tourism sector was placed at alert level one, with some operations later permissible at alert level two.

Over the past few weeks, things have started improving with the aim of putting health and operational protocols in place for the safety of tourists and employees. For this, consultative works have started and all measures undertaken are being benchmarked against global standards. The South African government, spearheaded by President Cyril Ramaphosa, is working towards a phased reopening of the tourism sector, starting at level three. This is expected to be done in partnership with the private sector of the country.

 

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A recent address to the nation is a testimony of this. In the address, Ramaphosa announced that the alert level for the entire country will be lowered from level four to level three with effect from June 1, 2020. This implies that domestic tourism for business travel and other limited activities is restored. Partial domestic air travel for business, too, is allowed. However, the movements across levels will remain dependent on the pandemic’s trajectory. By doing so, the country hopes and expects that this will pave the way for regional and, eventually, international long-haul travel as well.

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