South Africa

DA calls for clarity on Covid-19 tourism accommodation regulations

CAPE TOWN  - The Democratic Alliance on Saturday called on Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane to clarify the "badly written" coronavirus (Covid-19) regulations on business and leisure travel accommodation.

Kubayi-Ngubane needs to "decipher the hieroglyphics" of the confusing Covid-19 “alert advanced level 3” tourism regulations that she announced last week, DA shadow minister of tourism Manny De Freitas said in a statement.

The DA had spent the past week trying to make sense of these regulations without much success, he said.

"At the media conference that the minister hosted last week she stated that leisure accommodation will not be permitted. This contradicts the regulations which state that licensed and accredited accommodation establishments are allowed to operate for intra-provincial travel (that is, within a province) for business as well as leisure purposes," De Freitas said.

The regulations were also unclear with regards to conference facilities as, although conferences may take place, it did not explicitly say that conference accommodation may be used for leisure purposes as well. The DA had been inundated with queries from businesses seeking clarity about these "badly written" regulations.

Until there was clarity from government, businesses may have no choice but to adopt the position taken by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), which represents the widest scope of businesses within the tourism, travel, and accommodation sectors. The TBCSA had interpreted the regulations as permitting accredited and licensed accommodation to operate for intra-provincial domestic leisure and business travel.

The DA would write to the minister requesting that she clarify the regulations. This was yet another unnecessary burden for enterprises in the accommodation and hospitality sectors, where many had had to close their businesses and had left thousands of people unemployed because of government’s unhelpful and confusing handling of the Covid-19 lockdown.

"We need to have a balance between saving lives while also ensuring that livelihoods are not lost," De Freitas said.

- African News Agency (ANA)

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