SA-UK red list battle: Will petition encourage removal off the list?
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South Africa's warm weather, alluring beaches, award-winning safari lodges and wine experiences are just some of the tempting attractions that lure UK visitors to our shore.
However, since the UK's red list that prohibits travel to certain countries, South Africa has lost a huge travel market.
A petition by Ben Cope to remove South Africa from the travel red list has been started, with signatures slowly filling up.
The petition has already received more than 20 000 signatures.
"The government should urgently review its travel policy towards South Africa to ensure it is fully aligned with the latest scientific evidence, and therefore remove South Africa from the travel 'Red List'.
"Red list travel restrictions to southern Africa are unfair and are inflicting real social, environmental and economic hardship on families, businesses and ecosystems with no scientific justification given, and should therefore be removed," the petition states (sic).
Locally, SATSA's ‘Red List’ Lobbying Project has slowly made headway.
The campaign aims to identify and leverage areas of UK-SA interest, build confidence in South Africa’s infection control and vaccination programme, and engage in the design and operation of new health certification and vaccine passport programmes.
David Frost, the CEO of SATSA, said that current restrictions made travel to SA almost impossible and expensive.
"If South Africa does not put a concerted effort into presenting a data-driven and scientific case to the decision-makers in the UK, the likelihood is that we will remain on the ‘red list’ for the foreseeable future.
“The ‘burden of proof’ is on us to get involved proactively in the UK political and media debate and put a South African perspective into the policy discussions. Many of our competitor destinations have been actively lobbying in the media and to key decision-makers in the UK," he said in a statement.
IOL recently reported that Cape Town Tourism, among other SA organisations, was rallying their support for the cause.
The countries on UK Red List:
- Cape Verde
- Congo (Democratic Republic)
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- French Guiana
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- Trinidad and Tobago