By Umamah Bakharia
Last week, when South African scientist and experts detected a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, countries in Europe, Asia and America closed their borders to many Southern African countries.
This took a hit on South Africa’s tourism industry. Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor says the decision by many countries to restrict travel to South Africa was “rushed”.
Radio Islam speaks to Dr Unathi Sonwabile Henama, Tourism lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology on the travel ban to and from South Africa that has affected the industry.
“Just as we are about to recover then this happened [which is] destroying hope [and] making tourist to scramble. It’s very bad news,”says Dr Henama.
The tourism industry being the biggest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after the mining industry, this is not only a loss for the industry but to the different industries operating within the country.
“The tourism value chain is not totally dependent on domestic tourism like China is so we are very dependent on tourist from the African continent and international,” he says.
One of the biggest concerns with the travel ban, is the plunge in employment rates.
Dr Henama ays: that the only way to recover the tourism industry is to create jobs as that will have a positive impact on domestic tourism.
On Monday, UK and Ireland announced that it will be allowing travel for resident’s/permit holders into the countries this week.