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Department of Tourism: Best and Worst Case Scenarios for When South Africa Will Reopen for Tourists

The Department of Tourism has published a new draft recovery plan, outlining the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and how the tourism industry is likely to be impacted over the coming year.

The document is a detailed breakdown of international and local projections for when tourism will likely open up, using modelling that takes into account various infection patterns and recovery scenarios.

South Africa’s projections are predicated on international trends, which modelling shows is likely to open up for travel in a wide window of between August 2020 and May 2021.

Depending on the local spread of Covid-19 and recovery scenarios, South Africa’s tourism could start opening up as early as August 2020 in the best-case scenario, the department said – but in the worst-case, the industry could remain shut until well into 2021.


International travel

The policy document notes that the reopening of international tourism and the country borders will not only be dependent on South Africa’s coronavirus response, but also 44 primary source markets which drive international tourism to the country.

To help model when these countries are likely to reopen, pandemic data for individual countries was sourced and manipulated to obtain the pandemic duration, maximum number of deaths per day, date of peak daily mortality and days since peak daily mortality.

Date of peak daily mortality and peak value had to be determined for each country, and if a country had not yet reached its peak, these were estimated either by extrapolation or by setting a peak number and peak factor.

A linear recovery equation was found for three benchmark countries: South Korea (plateau), China (steep) and the United States (very steep). Gradients and limitations were adjusted to apply more optimistic or pessimistic assumptions and develop alternative scenarios.

Lastly, using China as a benchmark, where it took 60 days to open partially and a further 30 days for full domestic opening, the Oxford Lockdown Stringency Index (LSI) was used to approximate the number of days it would take from the point of recording zero daily deaths to full opening per source country.

Using this data, the department forecasts a global tourism re-opening between August 2020 and early 2021.

“This scenario assumes that the general observed recovery trajectory persists and that progress towards enhanced treatments for Covid-19 by the end of 2020 continue, with an accessible vaccine coming to market by the end of 2021,” the department said.

“Since indications of international border re-openings remain speculative at the time of writing, these dates represent the earliest likely date at which international travel will resume.”

The below model shows the estimated travel periods for South Africa’s primary ‘source countries’  for tourism.

  • The model is set between August 2020 and May 2021;
  • For domestic travel (travel within the respective country), the opening window is set between August 2020 and mid-February 2021;
  • For international travel (to and from the respective country), the opening window is set between November 2020 and May 2021.

Localised and global reinfection 

While the above model provides a positive picture globally, the risk of localised or global reinfection waves continue to threaten the global economic recovery and the strength and consistency of projected recoveries therefore come with low levels of certainty.

“As countries begin the process of re-opening, there remains a strong likelihood that trajectories out of lockdown conditions will prove far more fragile than hoped and that contagion risk in neighbouring countries or regions will force many nations to remain closed off from the world well into 2021,” the department said.

For this reason, the department provided two further global scenarios:

  • A more fragile recovery that contains isolated setbacks and takes longer, but still reflects an extension of the current global trajectory;
  • prolonged pandemic where the search for a vaccine proves elusive, herd immunity does not successfully contain transmission and multiple re-infection waves result.

Under the first of these scenarios, the timeframe for early Asian/Australasian re-opening moves from July/August 2020 to November 2020, while core markets (the UK, Germany and the US) can only be expected to return after April 2021.

The second scenario paints an even bleaker picture, with international outbound travel from Asia picking up between May and July 2021 and travel from core markets only returning from November 2021.

“In both of the more pessimistic scenarios, the 2020/21 summer season will be seriously affected, with even the following year’s peak months being under threat.

“This will have grave implications for supply-side survival. Given the modelling outputs and qualitative data emerging from the market, however, the stronger international recovery scenario remains the core outlook,” the department said.

It added that containment of the virus ultimately requires effective treatment and vaccine lead times will be a key indicator of the duration of the stabilisation phase.

This will inform visa policies and port of entry protocols as countries without sufficient herd immunity or access to treatment will seek to limit viral vectors, it said.

“In the interim, temporary and semi-permanent restrictions on traveller mobility are inevitable and unlikely to be standardised across markets.

“Measures such as immunity certification, pre- and post-travel quarantine and mandatory visitor tracking will reassure travellers but also impede the visitor experience”


South Africa

The document notes that South Africa’s pandemic curve thus far resembles the ‘plateau’ shape of countries such as South Korea, Australia and Singapore more than it does the ‘exponential growth’ experience of China, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The implication is therefore that, having successfully ‘flattened the curve’ to prevent health services from being overwhelmed, the country now faces a more prolonged, but less acute battle against the pandemic, the department said.

Using the above model it used for foreign countries, it produced the three following scenarios for South Africa:

  • strong recovery scenario where South Africa is able to contemplate re-opening in August;
  • A fragile recovery scenario, where the horizon shifts out to November 2020;
  • low-road, prolonged crisis scenario where the pandemic rages well into 2021.

Citing data from the South African Covid-19 modelling consortium, the department said that the country is on track for a ‘middle-road recovery’.

Under this outlook, South Africa recovers slower than many other parts of the world but does not lag far behind key source markets in Europe and North America.

“It is therefore likely that tourism recovery will experience a number of phases, from hyper-local community attractions, through broader domestic tourism, followed potentially by regional land and air markets, and then the resumption of world-wide international travel,” the department said.

“The implementation of the government’s risk-adjusted strategy is based on sector-level risk assessments that consider transmission risk across a number of dimensions, including; age of workforce, remote working potential, ability to enforce health and safety regulations and travel considerations of employees.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Plan to Open Up Tourism in South Africa – Including International Flights – But No Dates Yet

The Department of Tourism presented its revised budget in parliament on 9 July, highlighting how the coronavirus pandemic and the national lockdown have caused massive damage to the industry.

Addressing parliament’s tourism portfolio committee, Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said that while easing lockdown regulations in the sector was aimed at assisting businesses, it had to be done under strict conditions, and while reinforcing government’s health objectives towards defeating Covid-19.

The minister added that her department’s focus will be on supporting domestic tourism as the first point of recovery.

However, she caution cautioned that the recovery of the entire tourism industry would largely depend on how travel-ready authorities are in terms of managing and controlling coronavirus locally and globally.

The below graphic, taken from the department’s presentation, shows how tourism and the aviation sector is likely to open up in South Africa.

The department did not provide information on when these phases are likely to be introduced – noting again that they were heavily dependent on aviation regulations. However, it made it clear that it will focus on ‘domestic tourism first’.

“Tourism recovery will experience a number of phases, from hyper-local community attractions, through broader domestic tourism, regional land and air markets, and lastly resumption of world-wide international travel.

“The phases may not necessarily follow the same sequence but of certain is domestic tourism first.”

Tourism director-general, Victor Tharage, confirmed that the department lost close to R1 billion in its readjusted budget as announced by finance minister Tito Mboweni.

However, Tharage said that although there were difficult times ahead for the industry and those dependent on it, his department would still be able to meet all its amended targets in line with its adjusted budget.

Travel

At the end of June, Transport minister Fikile Mbalula announced that a number of air travel restrictions will be eased as part of the country’s move to ‘advanced’ level 3.

Mbalula said that this will include the reopening of a number of domestic air routes, as well as general relaxations around the industry.

The airports include:

  • Bram Fischer International Airport (Bloemfontein);
  • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport;
  • Pietermaritzburg Airport;
  • Port Elizabeth International Airport;
  • Richard’s Bay Airport;
  • Skukuza International Airport.

OR Tambo International, Cape Town International, King Shaka International airport, and Lanseria have been open since the start of the June.

South Africans are currently only allowed to fly domestically for business purposes, with international travel only allowed for repatriation and medical evacuations.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Tourism: South Africa Prepares to Welcome the World Again

As South Africa’s government is mulling the reopening of its borders in September, international travelers and travel agents alike have started considering the safety implications of their travels. South Africa’s tourism industry, under the banner of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), has been advocating for the phased reopening and is putting stringent measures in place to lower the risk and ensure the safety of travelers.

The protocols are aligned with guidelines from the World Health Organization as well as South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Disease and Department of Health and have been approved by the South African Department of Tourism. They cover, among other things, the designation of Covid-19 health and safety officers and team leaders; requiring visitors to complete medical and travel declarations compulsory temperature monitoring; and standard physical distancing and capacity controls.

Blacky Komani, TBCSA board chairperson, said the manner in which South Africa’s government has dealt with Covid-19 has been lauded as a world-class approach to dealing with the pandemic. “The protocols have gone through a rigorous process. I’m proud to be part of this country. As South Africa, we are ready to receive tourists and do what we do best, which is take care of them when they arrive.”

Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism, agreed and added that domestic tourism has currently opened for business travel with partial domestic air travel now allowed. He said: “This move is largely thanks to the sector’s proactive initiatives to de-risk itself. In this regard, the sector is taking the necessary steps to embed evidence-based health and safety measures at all touch points in the tourism value chain. This will go a long way in laying a foundation for a stronger and sustainable tourism sector.”

Ntshona said it is imperative that travelers feel safe and secure. “It goes without saying that health and safety will be top of mind whether we are visiting a local park, attending a conference, going on vacation, boarding a flight or staying at a hotel,” he said. “The need for such reassurance underpins the case for sectorwide health and safety protocols and standards in order to boost traveler confidence.”

Numerous South African hotels, lodges and activities have proactively started implementing the safety protocols and have shared what guests can expect from their travel experience.

Airports in South Africa offer a mainly touchless experience where distancing has become the norm and passengers are requested to scan their own boarding passes. Travelers will also be asked to remove any metal and electronic items at security checkpoints and place the items in a designated tray, a procedure that is not normally practiced on flights within the country. This is to minimize the need for physical pat-downs.

The wearing of masks is currently obligatory in South Africa. On arrival at the lodge or hotel, luggage will be sprayed and wiped down. Hand sanitizer will be available to travelers, and social distancing is expected be observed at all times. Travelers will also be requested to fill out a medical form that inquires about any symptoms they may be experiencing.

Extra care will be taken that meals are served in a safe and responsible way, which means that dining will happen a la carte and buffets will be scrapped. Solo travelers will not be permitted to share a table with strangers due to strict social distancing rules.

The number of people on a game drive vehicle will also be kept to a minimum, although travelers from the same group or family will obviously be able to experience game drives together. Game drive vehicles will be thoroughly sanitized after each use.

In case a traveler feels unwell, some lodges have set up dedicated isolation suites where travelers can get tested. If visitors test positive, it is important to note that South Africa boasts the highest standard of health care in Africa, with an extensive network of private doctors, specialists and clinics.

Although lodges have adapted to the new reality of Covid in their operations, the safari experience remains the same or is even better than before, according to industry players.

Robert More, CEO and founder of the More Family Collection, said that although the hospitality group is committed to doing what it can to curb the spread of Covid-19, none of the efforts will compromise the guest experience.

Said More: “Social distancing may well put space between people, but our business is still reliant on human connections and on the ability to create life-enriching experiences for our visitors. We realize that people will be seeking wide-open spaces, fresh air, beautiful environments and intuitive, warm human service — this is what we intend to deliver. Thankfully, ours is a product where distancing need not be negative: less people on a safari vehicle, for example, can only enhance the experience.”

Marcelo Novais, general manager of Ker & Downey Africa DMC and Grand Africa Safaris, said that even prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, a high level of safety was observed. He said: “For example, our vehicles are new, and our drivers maintain an impeccable level of hygiene during and after each client’s trip. This includes regular cleaning between and even during tours as well as drivers donning gloves. Going forward, our services will continue these high standards of hygiene protocols as well as implement the new regulations, such as wearing masks and implementing social distancing.”

Social distancing is not difficult in Africa, according to the TBCSA’s Komani. “We are not a mass tourism destination. South Africa is known for its space. You can drive for hours without seeing a single soul. We are geared for it,” he said.

Novais agreed, pointing out that Africa’s sought-after wilderness destinations are not densely populated and therefore the virus has had a low impact.

According to Novais, we can expect an influx of luxury and family travelers seeking out safari destinations in 2021. He said that according to a recent survey conducted by Ker & Downey, 63% of clients want to visit Southern Africa going forward.

Said Novais: “We predict that family travel will be highly sought-after once the global travel bans are lifted, as families will be looking to spend quality time together after being cooped up indoors and potentially missing their 2020 family holiday. The combination of travelers seeking exclusive holidays in remote destinations and the postponed bookings from 2020 will pose a challenge for availability in 2021.”

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2], [3], [4].

New African Wealth Report Reveals The Richest Cities on the Continent

New World Wealth and AfrAsia Bank have published the latest African Wealth Report, showing the levels of wealth of various African nations at the end of 2018.

According to the report, South Africa is still the richest country in Africa, with the high net worth (HNWI) population of 39,200 people holding the most wealth at $649 billion.

This is double that of the second wealthiest African nation, Egypt, where the HNWI population of 16,700 people holds $303 billion.

Egypt is followed by Nigeria ($225 billion), Morocco ($114 billion) and Kenya ($93 billion).

Total wealth held on the continent amounts to US$2.2 trillion. Around US$920 billion (42%) of this is held by HNWIs, New World Wealth said.

While South Africa ranks at the top of the list, on a per capita basis ($11,450), it is only the second wealthiest nation – following behind Mauritius, where wealth per capita sits at $31,000.

Africa’s richest cities

South African cities ranks as the top richest cities on the continent, with Johannesburg and Cape Town holding the most HNWI wealth among the major cities covered, taking the first and second spots, respectively.

Total wealth held in Johannesburg amounts to US$248 billion, while total wealth held by Cape Town amounting to US$133 billion.

Most of Johannesburg’s wealth is concentrated in Sandton, New World Wealth said, which is home to the JSE (the largest stock market in Africa) and to the head offices of most of Africa’s largest banks and corporates.

Cape Town, meanwhile, is home to Africa’s most exclusive and expensive suburbs such as Clifton, Bishopscourt, Camps Bay and Bantry Bay. It is also a hotspot for wealthy second home owners from around the world. Major sectors there include: real estate, financial services (fund management), retail and tourism.

Also in the top five from South Africa is Durban and Umhlanga (combined), which holds total HNWI wealth of US$54 billion.

This figure includes wealth held in Durban, Umhlanga, La Lucia and Ballito. Notably, Umhlanga and Ballito are two of the fastest growing areas in SA, in terms of wealth growth over the past 10 years, the group said.

Among other African countries, Cairo (Egypt), Lagos (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya) stand out as wealthy cities, sitting on par with South Africa’s popular HNWI areas.

Total wealth held in Cairo amounts to US$129 billion – and the city is home to more billionaires than any other African city (four billionaires live there, compared to just two in Johannesburg).

In Lagos, total wealth held in the city amounts to US$96 billion. This is the largest city in Africa, in terms of population and GDP (but not in terms of wealth).

The richest cities in Africa.

The richest areas in South Africa.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) Announced

As the African National Congress (ANC) wraps up its 54th National Conference in Johannesburg, it has announced the new members of its National Executive Committee (NEC).

The NEC is the chief executive body of the ANC, South Africa’s ruling party. It has the power to lead the organization, subject to the provisions of its Constitution. It is elected every five years, at the party’s National Conference. The NEC, in turn, elects a National Working Committee, which is responsible for day-to-day decision-making.

The NEC is composed of The President, Deputy President, National Chairperson, the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and the Treasurer General, who are separately by the National Conference, and commonly referred to as the “Top 6”, as well as 80 additional members.

The Top 6 positions are now filled by the following newly-elected members:

President: Cyril Ramaphosa
Deputy President: David Mabuza
National Chairperson: Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General: Ace Magashule
Deputy Secretary General: Jessie Duarte
Treasurer General: Paul Mashatile

Cyril Ramaphosa, the new leader of the ANC, does not have a majority of allies in the NEC. If this translates to a lack of support from a majority of the NEC voting members, it may limit the scope of control he has over the party, and his ability to drive policy changes. While Ramaphosa has replaced Jacob Zuma as the party’s President, Zuma is still the President of the country, with his term ending at the time of the next South African general election sometime in 2019.

The two main party leaders that Ramaphosa will be leading the ANC against in said election will be Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance, and Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters. Both parties are looking to increase the gains they saw during the 2014 general election, and potentially form a coalition government that will unseat the ANC for the first time since they began leading the country in 1994.

Pravin Gordhan, the previous South African Minister of Finance, replaced by President Zuma during a cabinet reshuffle in March 2017, has been elected as a member of the new NEC.

Among the elected NEC members are Ramaphosa’s opponent in the ANC leadership election, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (receiving the 9th most votes), Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, and former central bank Governor Tito Mboweni. Former ANC Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize won the most votes of the 80 additional members of the NEC, followed by Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Small Business Development.

Staunch backers of Ramaphosa in the NEC include Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom, Angie and Mathole Motshekga, Jackson Mthembu and Mondli Gungubele.

Among the backers of President Jacob Zuma in the NEC are omvula Mokonyane, Collen Maine, Bathabile Dlamini, Pule Mabe and Tony Yengeni.

ANC leaders who did not retain positions in the NEC include SACP leader Blade Nzimande, and Ministers Thulas Nxesi, Gugile Nkwinti, and Senzeni Zokwana.

The new members of the NEC, in no particular order, are as follows:

  1. Zweli Mkhize
  2. Lindiwe Zulu
  3. Regina Makgaule
  4. David Masondo
  5. Malusi Gigaba
  6. Ronald Lamola
  7. Violet Siwela
  8. Zizi Kodwa
  9. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
  10. 1Obed Bapela
  11. Tito Mboweni
  12. Lindiwe Sisulu
  13. Bheki Cele
  14. Fikile Mbalula
  15. Thoko Didiza
  16. Sdumo Dlamini
  17. Bathabile Dlamini
  18. Senzo Mchunu
  19. Pravin Gordhan
  20. Naledi Pandor
  21. Ivan Botes
  22. Zingiswa Losi
  23. Jackson Mthembu
  24. Phumulo Masualle
  25. Pule Mabe
  26. Sfiso Buthelezi
  27. Mduduzi Manana
  28. Aaron Motsoaledi
  29. Thandi Modise
  30. Edna Molewa
  31. Collen Maine
  32. Nathi Mthethwa
  33. Tima Joemat Pieterson
  34. Nkenke Kekana
  35. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
  36. Angie Motshekga
  37. Bongani Bongo
  38. Enoch Godongwana
  39. Nomvula Mokonyane
  40. Baleka Mbete
  41. Derrick Hanekom
  42. Mondli Gungubele
  43. Jeff Radebe
  44. David Mahlobo
  45. Ruth Bhengu
  46. Msebenzi Zwane
  47. Pinky Kekana
  48. Nocawe Mafu
  49. Joe Maswanganyi
  50. Tony Yengeni
  51. Joel Netshitenzhe
  52. Dakota Lekgoete
  53. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
  54. Noxolo Kiviet
  55. Ngoako Ramathlodi
  56. Mathole Motshekga
  57. Sbongile Bhesane
  58. Thandi Mahambehlala
  59. Susan Shabangu
  60. Pinky Moloi
  61. Beauty Dluelane
  62. Pamela Tshwete
  63. Toko Xasa
  64. Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba
  65. Dikeledi Magadzi
  66. Thabang Makwetla
  67. Siyabonga Cwele
  68. Barbrah Creecy
  69. Mildred Oliphant
  70. Khensani Khubayi
  71. Nomaindia Mfeketho
  72. Hlengiwe Mkhize
  73. Pemmy Majodina
  74. Faith Mothambi
  75. Rejoice Mabudavhasi
  76. Cindy Tshikunga
  77. Gwen Ramokgopa
  78. Sylvia Lucas
  79. Pammy Majodina
  80. Candith Mashego

Many South Africans, as well as those overseas, are skeptical as to the direction that the newly-elected party members will take the country in the coming months, with the hope that South Africa will see less corruption and greater economic growth in its near future. There is also something to be said of the ever-present need for all parties in Parliament to come together and make decisions which will benefit citizens as a whole, as opposed to wasting precious discussion time on the often racism-fueled volleys that the country’s residents have come to know.

To learn more about the ANC’s National Executive Committee, click here.

For information about how we can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

 

 

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]. Image Sources: [1], [2].