Unfair to ’restrict leisure travellers from high-risk countries’
Many organisations have welcomed the reopening of South Africa’s international borders, but many are not happy about the strategy taken by government to do so.
“The risk-based approach regulating international travel released by national government yesterday is a major blow for the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape,“ commented David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities.
“The tourism and hospitality sector’s survival is dependent on international leisure travellers in the summer season and for this reason it is critical that we look at smart ways to open our international borders, especially for our key source markets, so that we can save jobs and save the economy in the Western Cape,” added Maynier.
He said that it was unfair to restrict leisure travellers from high-risk countries as there is simply no greater risk of transmission based on the purpose of travel.
Countries included on the high risk list include the US, UK, Russia and Venezuela.
Travellers intending to visit the country will be expected to produce a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa.
On the issue of high risk countries, Maynier said South Africa’s airlines, hospitality and tourism companies have shown that travel and tourism can resume safely and, with stringent health and safety systems in place, it should not be necessary to impose additional country-based travel restrictions.
“We are also concerned that the two-week review period of the leisure ’no-travel list’, together with the requirement that business travellers from high-risk countries email the Department of Home Affairs for permission to travel, will create a barrier to bookings from visitors in traditional key source markets during the critical summer season.
“It also does not allow for enough lead time on which airlines can base their decisions to fly, creating further uncertainty for a sector that has already been hard-hit,” he continued.