The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has received clarification from the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane that air travellers are permitted to be on the road during curfew times if their flights were delayed or arrived later than predicted.
On December 14, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the extension of the national curfew due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 infections throughout the country. The new curfew, which is 11pm – 4am, saw domestic airlines cancelling later flights to accommodate the curfew times communicated during the president’s address.
‘Since the announcement made by the president on Monday, 14 December 2020, we saw an increase in flight cancellations due to fears of passengers being on the road during the curfew hours, however, we spoke to the Minister of Tourism and industry stakeholders to come to a conclusion that would not affect domestic flights,’ said Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of TBCSA.
‘An agreement was reached for all travellers using flights to be allowed to be on the road during curfew times if their flights were delayed or if the flight arrives closer or later than curfew time. All they have to do is produce their boarding pass as a proof should they be stopped by the police while completing their journey.’
The tourism industry relies on both domestic and international tourists to boost the sector’s revenue and the country’s economy. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 this year, experts have forecast South Africa to record its lowest GDP growth in 90 years as the economy’s decline is predicted to be 7.2 %t.
The cancellation of flights locally will lead to massive job losses in the tourism sector and further decline to the economy. As much as the curfew will continue to impact the industry’s revenues immensely, the TBCSA continually encourages that residents follow all the government guidance, regulations, and protocols.
The TBCSA is committed to aiding its partners in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry to operate safely. They have developed a digital industry application and the Travel Safe – Eat Safe certification programs alongside industry partners. All establishments, including airlines, are encouraged to enrol in the certification programme and utilise the official COVID-19 screening and protocols app to record compliance.
‘Now more than ever, collaboration across sectors is imperative to ensure flights domestically and locally continue. In doing so, we will save countless jobs and assist the economy to move towards an upwards trajectory, We encourage the domestic travellers and airliners not to cancel their flight aimed at avoiding curfew so we can continue to safe tourism sector,’ concluded Tshivhengwa.