S.African tourism steady despite Ebola threat - CNBC Africa

S.African tourism steady despite Ebola threat

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

Tourism SA's CEO Thulani Nzima says the country has been insulated from ebola virus. PHOTOS: Skoolvirekonomie

The country is safe for now but that has not sparred some critical sectors like tourism as some scheduled visitors have had to cancel their bookings due to Ebola fears.

The recent Ebola virus outbreak started in Guinea then spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and Nigeria.

The chief executive of Tourism South Africa, Thulani Nzima is adamant and says the country has been insulated due to government initiated measures.

(READ MORE: S.African man cleared of Ebola virus)

“It is true that to a certain extent we are insulated and this is based on the steps that have been taken by our government making sure that South Africa remains Ebola free,” Nzima told CNBC Africa.

“South Africa’s status has also been confirmed by the correct communication conveyed by the World Health Organisation responsible which is giving accurate updates on Ebola.”

Nzima said the South African government understand the importance of tourism which in part explains mitigating measures that have been taken by the country.

“Tourism has been identified as one of the six pillars in the country’s economic growth,” he said.  


According to the FNB Tourism Business Index, South Africa is somewhat a safe destination for tourists compared to its West Africa counterparts.

“We have had situations where there is a misconception about people thinking that the entire continent has been affected by the Ebola virus,” Nzima added.

(READ MORE: African airlines take precautions against Ebola)

“We have seen people cancelling their travel arrangements but after disseminating and correcting information we have seen those cancellations being reinstated.”

“The government understands the importance of the tourism sector that is why they have now established a stand-alone tourism department unlike previously when it was combined with environmental affairs,” he added.

According to statistics, South Africa’s tourism sector created about 1.4 million jobs last year.