Tourism industry urged to turn away visitors from high-risk countries

The coronona virus is having a huge impact on the tourist and hospitality sectors.
CAUSING CHAOS: The coronona virus is having a huge impact on the tourist and hospitality sectors.

The Eastern Cape government has asked the tourism industry to no longer accept visitors from high-risk countries.

These include the US, Iran, South Korea, UK, Spain, Switzerland, China, France, Germany and Italy along with medium-risk countries such as Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Finance, economic development, environmental affairs & tourism MEC Mlungisi Mvoko said his request was in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa's travel ban which is necessary as the country deals with the spread of Covid-19.

“As a largely rural province of limited resources and capacity, the welfare of our people is sacrosanct,” Mvoko said.

“It is of utmost importance that we all do everything in our power to keep the number of corona cases at bay and protect our communities.

“It is crucial that the Eastern Cape tourism sector aligns to these measures and practises with extreme caution and mindfulness when dealing with visitors from high risk countries.”

This comes as a German tourist was initially quarantined at Crawford Beach Lodge, about 33km from East London, but has since been sent to St Dominic’s Hospital in East London for treatment, according to resort owner Mark Crawford.  

News of the tourist’s condition came on Sunday, just a day after the Eastern Cape recorded its first case of the virus.

The national health department announced late on Sunday that SA had 274 confirmed cases — up 34 from the day before.

Mvoko said if bookings had already been made, establishments should postpone these until next year.

“In the event this is not possible, establishments should exercise necessary protocols of protecting their staff by contacting the embassies of the travellers as well as Covid-19 hotline,” he said.

“Establishments are further encouraged to request additional information beforehand from visitors from high risk countries.

“This should include personal details of [the] visitor, entry date into SA; (check home affairs entry stamp) and information about recent places visited by guests,” he said.