No respite for SA tourism as the UK digs in

No respite for SA tourism as the UK digs in

Source: Pixabay

The UK government will not remove South Africa from its ‘red list’ of countries as this will compromise with its Covid-19 programme, according to media reports.

This comes after London had received a petition with more than 26,000 signatures calling for the travel ban to be lifted.

“At the most recent review on 4 August, it was decided that South Africa would remain on the red list as South Africa continues to present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern,” the UK’s department of transport was quoted as saying by Businesstech.

“We will not compromise on the progress we have made on our vaccine programme by allowing people to freely mix abroad and return or travel to the UK without proper checks and procedures. This is just the start for opening international travel, with the UK leading the way with a robust system.”

A recent study by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that the South African economy is losing over R180 million every week it remains on the UK’s ‘red list’ for travel.

“The impact the UK’s traffic light system imposes on ‘red list’ countries is not only damaging the Travel and Tourism sector but also economies around the world,” WTTC senior vice president Virginia Messina said.

“Our data shows that every day South Africa remains on the UK’s ‘red list’, the country faces losing millions of dollars, effectively delaying the global socio-economic recovery.”

UK travellers, vaccinated or not, travelling to countries on the ‘red list’ are required to defray the cost of a 10-day hotel quarantine upon returning to the UK, coupled with the fees for the 

South Africa was among the most popular destinations for UK travellers in 2019, accounting for 7% of international visitor spending, representing R9.4 billion, according to the WTTC’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) report.

International visitor spending dropped 66%, from more than R134 billion in 2019 to just R46 billion in 2020 due to COVID-19.

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