The Department of Tourism have said that they will embark on a
three-stage plan to save the industry after its catastrophic
collapse at the hands of COVID-19, saying that ultimately the
recovery may take up to two years.
The department released a revised budget for the 2020 financial
year on Thursday 9 July in which they outlined the slashing of R1
billion from it’s initial R2.5 billion kitty. In the report, the
Department said that it would follow a multi-phase plan to
mitigate losses to the drastically affected sector.
Tourism portfolio takes R1 billion budget cut
The majority of cuts within the Departments fund comes in within
the tourism research, policy, and international relations
allocation of the portfolio, which includes promotional and
marketing based initiatives that have been deemed effectively
redundant under the current circumstances.
Graphic: Department of Tourism
The department said that the tourism sector was the worst affected
by the crippling financial constraints imposed by the COVID-19
pandemic and subsequent lockdown regulations, especially those
“All sectors have been impacted but none more so than the travel
and tourism sector. With borders being closed, planes and mass
transport being grounded, and large gatherings being prohibited,
there is almost zero activity in the sector,” they said.
“The review of the plans has taken into account the impact of the
national lockdown, associated restrictions and high levels of
uncertainty on the practical execution of some of our projects
planned for 2020/21.”
They said that the ultimate recovery of the industry may take as
long as two years.
“Early indications are that recovery of the sector may take
between 12 and 24 months,” they said.
Multi-phase recovery plan in place
The department said that the sector has previously demonstrated
“strong resilience” and “will certainly be transformed and rise
again”, with a multi-phase plan presented that will aim to
gradually stimulate activity in the sector; first from a domestic
and ultimately from an international perspective.
The multi-phase strategy looks like this:
• Phase one: “Hyperlocal” focus on attractions such as day-
visits to nearby open spaces.
• During this stage, focus shifts away form revenue
generating strategy and focuses solely on “providing a sense of
safety for being outdoors”.
• Phase two: The introduction of revenue generation for the
sector using offerings such as overnight stays and, importantly,
In order to embark on the regional leg of the industry’s recovery,
the tourism department say that regional country border bans must
have been lifted, and a globally accepted set of health protocols
will need to have been adopted.
• Phase one: This will essentially consist of the travel to
interprovincial and regions outside of South Africa’s borders by
• Phase two: This will include the same aims as phase one,
but will be facilitated by regional air travel.
For the transition into the international phase of the plan to
take shape, the tourism sector will require that long-haul country
air bans are lifted, with the resumption of international travel
having taken place.
• Phase one: International carriers resume flights as the
• Phase two: The rest of the world experiences a full
Graphic: Department of Tourism
“As the country reprioritises resources to fight the pandemic, it
was anticipated that the portfolio budget would be impacted, an
the extent of which would only be confirmed during the adjusted
budget,” the department added
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