You may not be able to visit your favourite hotel anytime soon due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has caused South African accommodation establishments to close its doors until the situation improves.

Despite the five stages of lockdown revealed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April, the government has decided that accommodation establishments will remain closed during all levels.

Under the Disaster Management Act, the SA government states that any place or premises normally opened to the public or where people may gather are prohibited. These include hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, Airbnbs, timeshare facilities and resorts, and guest houses.

Private and public game reserves, as well as holiday resorts, will also remain closed. Only a select few accommodations will open to house people in quarantine or travellers arriving in the country.

Lee Zamekile Zama of Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) said the impact of Covid-19 may last up to 18 months.

“Our industry has shouldered the biggest economic impact of this pandemic. The impact stretch of this period is envisaged to last up to 18 months. Inevitably, some operators without any tailor-made funding solution for the sector would not survive this pandemic.”

Zama said the organisation has submitted stringent safety protocols to government.

“We have submitted stringent safety protocols, which we hope that the government will consider when reopening the sector. The government will make the necessary determination based on its own assessment, ” she said.

South African businesses have offered alternative forms of travel since the lockdown. Many are offering virtual tours to keep travellers’ FOMO at bay.

The Western Cape government launched the “One Day” campaign last week to support the tourism industry in the province during the coronavirus pandemic.

The concept, developed by Wesgro, the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, will utilise digital content tools to virtually showcase the province’s offerings.

Around 12 virtual tours using video calls and streaming services, like Zoom, have been announced. Some of the tours will showcase the Cape West Coast, Cape Overberg, Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Garden Route & Klein Karoo and Cape Karoo.

Safari companies are also offering virtual safaris, including Tintswalo Safari Lodge, Shamwari Private Game Reserve and Tau Game Lodge.


By Clinton Moodley