July 17

Letter to the President: South Africa is Travel Ready


By David Ryan on
July 17, 2020

Please note that this blog post was written in July 2020. For the latest travel updates, please visit our Travel with Confidence pages.

Dear Mr President,

I write to you today as an entrepreneur and member of our beloved Tourism sector. From the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Tourism Industry through the TBCSA and SATSA have been proactively engaging your government on a data driven approach, for the safe reopening of our Tourism Industry in support of the broader response to Covid-19. 

This Tourism Recovery plan complies with the gold standard World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safety Protocols, aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. We ask that your cabinet approves our plan to reopen and gives us a reopening date that will allow us to begin our recovery and save livelihoods.

The safety protocols identified in this Tourism Recovery plan ensure a safe experience for guests through operational and staff preparedness, rebuilding trust and confidence that carefully allow for the reopening and restart of businesses in the tourism sector across South Africa.

Our government’s misplaced tirade of blame is a profound insult to South Africans and an industry who gave up all they had when asked to do so. The effective banning of all leisure tourism as promulgated in the current government regulations, with no commitment to a reopening date, is an infringement of our basic human right and need to protect livelihoods. This, in the absence of any further government support as the UIF TERS programme came to an end in June, with no additional relief funding being made available to the Tourism sector.

We don’t need to tell you that Tourism is the most geographically diverse industry in South Africa, employing over 1.5 million people. Nor that we have been dealt a severe blow, without any proper scientific evidence or reasoning to support Tourism from being excluded. Tourism can open safely, and should be allowed to do so. Your government’s clear disregard for the Tourism sector as a partner in fighting our Covid-19 pandemic will result in our Tourism sector being decimated. The knock-on-effect for South Africans, across our beloved country, that depend on Tourism jobs, will be severe. 

We are calling on you to do the right thing, because we are out of time – It is inconceivable that taxis are allowed to operate, when the very nature of our high-value, low density Tourism proposition, should be both positioning and aiding South Africa’s economic recovery post Covid-19. 

David Ryan - CEO and Founder Rhino Africa Safaris

About Rhino Africa

Rhino Africa is Africa’s leading safari company and specialises in tailor-made luxury travel in Southern and East Africa, including the Indian Ocean Islands.

Based in Cape Town, we use our local expert knowledge to create once-in-a-lifetime journeys for 16,000 guests every year. Success within the safari industry has granted us the great privilege of supporting the causes we are passionate about. This is more than a passion; it is a burning, all-encompassing desire to ensure that we do whatever we can to support the special, on-the-ground movements that underpin conservation and rural education in Africa. We leverage our talent at tailor-made holidays to join forces with inspired groups and individuals in Africa, whose talents lie in protecting endangered species and empowering rural education, to achieve their dreams.

Basically what it comes down to: Rhino Africa helps the dreams we steadfastly believe in, come true. Whether that’s bucket-list African holidays, helping a child reach his/her true potential or protecting wildlife. We’re committed to uplifting this continent through travel. Tourism provides accessible employment opportunities, geographic diversification and increased foreign currency receipts, better than any other industry. That is why we believe travel has the potential to change the world – and now more than ever, our planet needs the kind of travel that gives back!


The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) is the umbrella organisation representing the unified voice of business in the travel and tourism sector in South Africa.

The TBCSA was established in 1996 by leading tourism businesses and associations to form a unified platform to engage with the South African government around the development of the sector. 

It is a not-for-profit, member-centric organisation mandated with the task of:

  • Lobbying the public sector and behalf of its members;
  • Facilitating key industry programmes aimed at driving growth and development in the sector;
  • Monitoring and influencing macro-economic developments which impact on the sector;
  • The organisation serves to unite and influence the diverse travel and tourism sector to contribute to a competitive, responsible and inclusive tourism economy.
  • The work of the organisation and its strategy is guided by the following priority areas:
  • Providing organised business in the sector a route to government;
  • Focussing on legislative issues and policies impacting on the travel and tourism sector;
  • Influencing the marketing of destination South Africa;
  • Research – commissioning, collating and communicating.


SATSA is a member-driven association that offers inbound tourism services companies the highest level of quality in the tourism industry.

Who is SATSA? 

  • SATSA is a member-driven credibility association that strives to set the highest standards in the Tourism Industry
  • SATSA strives to maintain three key qualities in all of the work they do: credibility, value and authority.
  • Using a SATSA member provides peace of mind for those who seek to do business with credible tourism partners
  • Members undergo a strict registration process and are required to sign and agree to abide by a Code of Conduct

What is SATSA’s purpose?

  • Provide buyers with quality advice and references to assist them in making an informed decision in their selection of suppliers
  • Provide our members with key services and benefits as well as representation at local, regional and international trade shows and conferences
  • To lobby on issues that impact members businesses and profitability


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About the author 

David Ryan

David makes things happen! With a canny inability to sit still for a minute, it’s a miracle he actually sat down long enough to finish his degree in economics. David is a brave and pioneering entrepreneur with a true passion for Africa - especially Africa's wildlife. With his African Grey parrot by his side, there is more than a hint of the Dolittles about our intrepid leader. Before founding Rhino Africa David spent a number of years earning his stripes and cutting his teeth in the industry. David’s interests include photography and travel, and having travelled extensively through Africa most of the images on the Rhino Africa website hail from his well organised image library!

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