Tourism gets behind President Ramaphosa’s appeal to fight against COVID-19

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The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) has called on all stakeholders in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry to get behind President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to recommit to the fight against COVID-19, by complying with stringent health and hygiene protocols.

The President announced this evening that increased restrictions would be applied on Nelson Mandela Bay as a hotspot, warning that Government may be forced to place other metros which are declared hotspots under the same regulations should the spread of COVID-19 continue uninhibited.

The travel, tourism and hospitality sectors have done all the work to implement robust health and hygiene safety protocols, which are endorsed by the World Travel and Tourism Council, to safeguard staff and guests. “What we need now is their consistent implementation and a heightened commitment by all stakeholders in the tourism and travel value chain to ensuring their customers are complying strictly with these,” says Otto de Vries, CEO ASATA.

The enhanced interventions in Nelson Mandela Bay are an important wake-up call to the country and the sector as a whole, says de Vries. “To ensure the same does not happen across the country, we need to do our part as the sector and enforce the protocols. This is over and above the need to focus on where the specific problem areas are and do what is required through localised interventions, such as additional policing and reporting mechanisms when businesses are in contravention of the protocols, etc.”

Failure to do so could mean that the industry has to endure strict lockdown measures that would spell disaster. “It’s up to us to ensure we don’t go back to where we were before and that means proper implemention of the comprehensive protocols that have been devised specifically for our sector and managing the compliance of our customers, guests and travellers. It really is that simple.

“It’s in our hands. As President Ramaphosa stated this evening, we can still prevent the virus from spreading any further if we take the appropriate steps now. We must stand together and work together,” concludes de Vries.