Deputy minister of tourism, Fish Mahlalela said that foreign tourists may be allowed to travel to South Africa by the start of next year.
He also said that domestic level travel was likely to open in late September or early October.
While President Cyril Ramaphosa last month indicated that hotels will be allowed to accommodate leisure travellers, tourism minister Kubayi-Ngubane contradicted this and announced that South Africans will have to stick to self-drive day trips within their resident provinces.
Subsequent government regulations confirmed that hotels, lodges and guest houses are still only permitted to host business travellers. Inter-provincial leisure travel is still not allowed.
Mahlalela said, “The virus is likely to flatten in September according to health experts. At this point in time, borders open for international travellers is likely to be January 2021.”
South Africa’s borders have been closed to foreign tourists since March this year.
South Africans are also still not allowed to travel overseas for leisure. International travel is only allowed if the resident is returning to work, to study, or to go to their residence overseas.
South African travellers have been excluded from the UK’s quarantine-free list, and are not allowed entry into the EU.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane also highlighted that the tourism sector faces a potential 75% reduction in revenue for 2020, thus putting at risk a further R149.7bn (€7.8bn) in output, 438 000 jobs and R80.2bn (€4.2bn) in foreign receipts.
Kubayi-Ngubane delivered her budget speech during a mini-plenary in the National Assembly on Wednesday
She said that her department is working with stakeholders to put together a recovery plan which will be submitted to cabinet next month