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Aussies given green light to holiday in South Africa

Traveltalk puts tourism official on the spot over safety concerns

One of South Africa’s top tourism officials has assured Australians that his country is safe to visit post COVID-19.


Mr Themba Khumalo was speaking at a media briefing held during Africa’s Indaba 2022 currently taking place in Durban.


The Acting CEO of South Africa Tourism was quizzed by Traveltalk on concerns about the safety of international visitors travelling to the region.


“Every country has its challenges, every city has its challenges,” he responded.


“One of the things that has happened throughout the lockdown period is an increased realisation of the value of the tourism sector and the value of every tourist that comes into the country. The impact that it has on our economy, on lives and livelihoods, on sustaining businesses.


“I can assure you that this country and this continent is in a completely different mindset and attitude to people that are coming in for a holiday.


“I can also assure you that everyone coming in from Australia or anywhere else in the world is welcome and will be able to enjoy a safe holiday within our country.”


The briefing session was held to discuss how the African tourism sector is gearing up towards recovery in a post-pandemic world. Mr Khumalo said the bounce back actually began during lockdown.


“We were relying on people coming from outside the continent, from Europe, the Americas and Asia, onto the African continent.


“All of a sudden all of that went away and we were forced to look within. So we had to build a sustainable and resilient domestic tourism offering.


“It was an opportunity to refresh the offering that we put out into the world and I believe that we are actually in better shape now than when we went into lockdown so I believe the bounce back is already well under way.”


“The most important thing is that we want to trade our way out of this pandemic,” said Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.


“The fact that we are here today means that we are open for business and we are safe to open.”


Traveltalk also tackled Aaron Munetsi, CEO of the Airlines Association of South Africa, on the likelihood of South African Airways returning to Australian shores.


The national airline ceased operations in 2020 after 86 years of service but is back in business after resuming in September 2021.


“I cannot tell you when they are going to start flying back to Perth, but they are doing some clever stuff in realising what their challenges are,” said Mr Munetsi.


“In the long run you are going to see SAA become a much better run and managed business.”


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Written by: Jon Underwood
Published: 4 May 2022

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