“It’s good news that there will be some economic activities in our sector, initially tourism was supposed to be coming back on level 2 or 1,” TBCSA chief executive officer Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa told Xinhua on Monday.
The tourism department said under lockdown level three which started on June 1, tourist guides, tour operators, travel agents, tourism information officers are allowed to come back to operations. Game farms would also operate for self-drive excursions and hiking. Domestic flights for business travel are also open.
When lockdown measures were imposed in March, it was anticipated that the local tourism would only return in September.
Tshivhengwa said the industry was negatively impacted by the pandemic.
“We are concerned because being opened doesn’t mean that there will be a demand. COVID-19 left the industry on its knees because there was no income. There is still some uncertainty as to when the international inbound will return,” he said.
Tshivhengwa said that they were hoping for domestic tourism to fully recover.
“We are anticipating tough times ahead, we don’t know when there will be recovery. Everyone wants to recover soon but it will depend on the spread of the virus.”
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane also agreed the sector had been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
The past two months of lockdown have been difficult for the tourism sector which was anticipating the loss of thousands of jobs.
“We continued to see many businesses in the sector fighting for survival and our projections showed that almost 600,000 jobs were at risk if the sector doesn’t come into operation by September 2020,” she said.