International travel bans aimed at slowing the spread of the Omicron variant are devastating South Africa's economy and tourism industry.
In the last week alone, experts estimate South Africa has already lost millions of dollars from canceled bookings.
Local tourism operations say the economy was picking up prior to the variant, with many feeling they were at a point where they could rehire those who were laid off over the last two years, but now things have changed, with one tour guide saying there's already signs of "the emptiness of the industry."
"I know for a fact that most people in the tourism sector are going to lose their jobs," JHB Tourism Ambassador Mbali Negmna said.
The country's unemployment numbers came out earlier this week with nearly 47% of South Africans jobless in the last quarter. Tourism makes up about 3% of the country's GDP.
And while more cases of the Omicron variant come to light, the Delta variant still remains dominant elsewhere.
Only a handful of the 38,000 cases found in a 24-hour period in the U.K. were thought to be Omicron, and Delta remains the dominant variant in Germany, where some have described the country's precaution to ban unvaccinated people from many businesses as a "draconian" step.
In just a few months, Austria will make vaccines mandatory, though shots are more widely available there.