Red List debacle continues with repercussions for South Africa’s tourism sector
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South Africa’s hopes of bringing British travelers back to their sunny shores were dashed this weekend as it remains on the red list.
The announcement that the country will remain on the much-talked-about list has drawn much criticism from the South African travel industry.
“It’s a kick in the teeth for the 1.5 million South African tourism workers who relied on British visitors this spring,” said David Frost, CEO of the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA).
He thinks that “the British government has an irrational fear of South Africa which hinders decision-making”.
According to Frost, there is “not the slightest scientific evidence” to support keeping South Africa on the red list.
“The UK government must urgently reconsider this classification to avoid irreparable damage to a relationship with a key ally and business partner,” he said.
South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, said her department intends to step up efforts to remove South Africa from the list.
She is optimistic that the UK government will finally realize that its decision is not hurting the tourism industry but other businesses in both countries.
“We firmly believe that there is no reasonable basis for keeping South Africa on the red list, and I am very disappointed,” she said.
ASATA CEO Otto de Vries said they would continue to fight to remove South Africa from the red list and other travel advisories.
“ASATA is deeply disappointed with the outcome of the UK traffic light system review. Over the past month, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Arabia Arabia, Israel, Mauritius, Seychelles and Spain have all eased travel restrictions for fully vaccinated South Africans, and these countries have stressed that being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 exempts travelers from mandatory quarantines.
âWe maintain that travelers who can provide proof of vaccination should be allowed in and out of the country without Covid-19 tests and quarantines. For those who are not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated, a negative PCR test should be presented.
“The complexity and costs associated with classifying South Africa as a ‘red list’ destination will continue to be a major deterrent for South African travelers,” he explained.
FEDHASA National President Rosemary Anderson agrees.
âIn addition to being one of the largest source markets for South Africa, travel restrictions have severely affected trade and tourism between South Africa and the UK.
“FEDHASA will continue to support lobbying efforts to remove SA from the so-called red list and hopes to see a return of travel to and from the UK soon,” she said.
Busi Mavuso, managing director of Business Leadership South Africa, called the decision to keep SA on the red list “puzzling”.
“This is a baffling move by the UK that seems to run counter to the scientific evidence they claim to be following. If the UK is to project its values ââand principles of free trade abroad, it is is a strange way to go about it. We now need a clear and swift commitment from the UK government to review South Africa’s travel status in the coming days, “Mavuso said.
It appears that the move is also affecting South African travelers, who must undergo a quarantine once in the UK.
According to Cheapflights, there has been a 24% increase in searches for flights to the UK over the past week. The average September flight price is R9220.