South African Tourism has announced holidaymakers traveling to the country’s Covid-19 hotspot areas can expect graded accommodation establishments to capture their details digitally to assist with tracking and tracing of positive cases through its Automated Data Capturing Solution (ACDS).
South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona said establishments will register guests using a QR code, adding the intervention was being funded by its business unit, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.
Ntshona said the rollout was prompted by the identification of Nelson Mandela Bay, Sarah Baartman, and the Garden Route municipalities as the country’s top three hotspots following the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus.
“These particular three areas actually experienced heightened lockdown levels and restrictions some businesses in this area experienced 50% cancellations because places like beaches are being closed.”
Ntshona said the ACDS is currently being rolled out at 150 of South Africa’s 5 300 graded establishments with the rest to follow.
“Our graded establishments are on the front line of the pandemic as they welcome guests both local and international to their establishments. They need to be equipped with the necessary tools to create awareness, and at the same time ensure that safety protocols and compliance are adhered to.”
Power in the hands of the consumer
But, he pointed out, the power to ensure hospitality establishments comply with the measure lies with customers, who will have access to a feedback line and an email address to report non-compliance.
Ntshona said Covid-19 and the new variant of the virus had accelerated the development and rollout of the digital solution which will be a permanent fixture at establishments as the need for enhanced hygiene practices increases.
The country’s tourism sector has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns, and though there are some positive recovery signs, Ntshona said it’ll take some time to get to the desired levels.
“Globally, tourism is at 1990 levels, so it is going to take us at least five years just to take us to 2019 levels. There’s still a long road ahead of us.”
He also urged travellers to strictly adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.