Cape Town - The Western Cape’s tourism industry and officials have highlighted their efforts to get South Africa removed from the UK’s travel ‘red list’ for World Tourism Day on Monday.
The tourism sector, stakeholders in Cape Town and the Western Cape’s tourism industry have increased their efforts to get South Africa from the list.
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier has written to UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Elizabeth Truss, on their decision to keep South Africa on the UK ‘red list’ and requested the decision be reviewed.
“Removing South Africa from the UK ‘red list’ and easing travel restrictions for those travelling between the two countries ahead of our summer season will provide much-needed relief for the tourism and hospitality sector, which has been hard-hit with an estimated loss of 75 477 jobs in 2020 in the Western Cape,” said Maynier.
Maynier said this was one of many steps taken to engage with key decision-makers in both the UK and South Africa to tackle this barrier to the economic recovery of the tourism sector in the province.
Other steps included calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to move to the country to Alert Level 1 and identify a clear plan to end the National State of Disaster, and engaging with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to review and approve the application for the Delta Air Lines triangular Atlanta - Johannesburg - Cape Town route.
Maynier said that they are also engaging with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to introduce the ‘Remote Working Visa’ to allow international visitors to stay longer and work remotely while travelling in the country.
To provide specific support to the tourism sector in the Western Cape, Maynier said they have worked with the industry to ensure destination readiness and the implementation of the necessary health guidelines.
Some of the measures launched include the Tourism Product Development Fund, which has supported over eleven businesses and helped to sustain over 300 jobs, the Western Cape Business Events Support Project to stimulate short-and-medium term business events in the Western Cape and helped businesses to access available funding.
Cape Tourist Guides Association member and Energy Tours owner Jeremy Howard said South Africa’s continued status on the UK’s red list was having a significant adverse effect on tourist guides, and tourism as a whole was seeing the negative effects through fewer bookings from the major source market (the UK).
In response to the country’s continued status on the UK ‘red list’, Cape Town Tourism (CCT), together with the City, was gearing up to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
CTT has partnered with Vodacom, City Sightseeing ‘Red Bus’ and other organisations to allow all vaccinated individuals the chance to explore some of the city’s tourist attractions at reduced prices.
“We are urgently encouraging as many Capetonians as possible to get vaccinated so that we can save the thousands of jobs and businesses that are at risk.
“We’re hoping that both Jobs4Jabs and Jabs4Tourism galvanise people into protecting themselves and others against Covid-19. A higher vaccination rate will show the world that Cape Town is capable of hosting visitors from across the globe safely,” said Economic Opportunities and Asset Management Mayco member James Vos.