SOUTH AFRICA'S TOURISM INDUSTRY PREPAREDNESS FOR POST COVID ERA
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|July 2020
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SOUTH AFRICA'S TOURISM INDUSTRY PREPAREDNESS FOR POST COVID ERA
SOUTH AFRICA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY PREPAREDNESS FOR POST COVID ERA
NEETA BAPORIKAR

Background

Tremendous amounts of resources and investments are made by both the government and the private sector in the travel and tourism industry. Long term planning and resource development is also essential (Baporikar, 2020a). Hence, effective strategies and preparedness for the tourism industry post- coronavirus (COVID) is crucial and need of the hour as the COVID-19 crisis halted tourism worldwide. The United World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) regions have experienced more than 65% destination complete closure and Africa stands at 74%. UNWTO predicts a 20-30% decline in global international tourist arrivals this year. Before COVID-19, Africa was the second-fastest-growing region for tourism. An increase of 4.2% in travelers’ numbers in 2019 and 3-5% in 2020 had been forecast. But as COVID hit, airports were shut down and tourists stopped arriving, the industry was forced to pause. Many countries also imposed lockdowns, shutting down hotels, tour companies, event centers and public transportation.

Current Scenario

Infectious disease outbreaks, including COVID, deeply jeopardize the tourism industry given its reliance on human mobility (Yang, Zhang & Chen, 2020). This is true with respect to the tourism industry in South Africa (SA). Further, it has lead to absolute chaos due to the cancellation of international flights to the country since March and has been turmoil to move bookings, deal with many cancellations and activities to minimize loses to clients. This canceling and rescheduling trips could potentially translate into a loss of $30 billion to $50 billion in revenue for the continent’s tourism industry this year (Bulin & Tenie, 2020). But because of the increasing cases of the virus, Africa does not have much choice.

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July 2020