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EC Tourism sector rallied to support efforts to curb COVID-19 pandemic

Mar 19, 2020
EC Tourism sector rallied to support efforts to curb COVID-19 pandemic

East London - The coronavirus outbreak has severe impact on the global and national economy. As government implements travel bans with flight cancellations and mandatory quarantines, the virus is affecting all sectors including the tourism industry and its subsequent subsectors.

"The economic knock-on effect is being felt across the tourism industry with widespread cancellations and subsequent disruptions to anticipated revenues," said Oyanga NgalikaCommunications & Media Manager at EC Tourism. 

"On the 15th of March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation to announce the declaration of a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

"The President outlined several measures to be taken immediately and asked that all South Africans respond positively and emphatically to what he described as the “definitive Thuma Mina moment”.

"To date there are still no known cases of COVID-19 in the Eastern Cape and as an authority tasked with promoting tourism, ECPTA would like to work with the public to maintain that status."

Ngalika said that the ECPTA wishes to table the following for noting and consideration by the tourism sector:

  • The National Department of Tourism will address planning issues relating to the deficits anticipated as a result of cancellations of large events.
  • South African Tourism will take responsibility for centralised communication with regular postings on its website www.southafica.net and ECPTA will share those accordingly on its www.visiteasterncape.co.za
  • The sector and public are also encouraged to adhere and heed to the Eastern Cape government measures from departments like Health, Social Development, Roads and Transport as led by Premier Oscar Mabuyane. All aiming to protect the Eastern Cape people against the virus 
  • The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) will also take responsibility for communication with SMMEs regarding the likely impact of travel bans and event cancellations.

"With regards to the 15 ECPTA managed provincial reserves spread across the Eastern Cape, the agency encourages all visitors that have booked a stay over the next 4 weeks to postpone their visit to a later date within the next 12 months," Ngalika added.

"ECPTA encourages the tourism sector to support spreading the awareness message on COVID – 19 as availed by Department of Health on the COVID-19 Hotline: 0800 029 999 as well as COVID-19 dedicated online resource SAcoronavirus.co.za

"Further to this, the tourism sector is pleaded with to consider innovative ways in amending cancellation policies to accommodate tourists who cannot travel during this period, this is to retain a loyal customer tourism base in the Eastern Cape.

"ECPTA also implores the people of the Eastern Cape to adhere to set forth precautions that include hygiene and social distancing guidelines during this challenging time. ECPTA wishes the citizens of the country and province well as we enter this unchartered territory."

For all Corona related queries and information needs use this WhatsApp hotline – 0600123456. If someone suspects they might have contracted the virus, they should call the NICD helpline on 0800 029 999 and will be advised on the closest public or private facility near them for testing. Public sector testing is completely free.

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