Western Cape province proposed that the government consider allowing leisure travellers from high-risk countries with a negative PCR test into the country. Picture: MichaelGaida/Pixabay
Western Cape province proposed that the government consider allowing leisure travellers from high-risk countries with a negative PCR test into the country. Picture: MichaelGaida/Pixabay

Western Cape wants government to allow international leisure travellers with negative PCR test into country

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Oct 8, 2020

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Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier has called for the review of the risk-based approach regulating international travel released by the national government.

He has written to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with recommendations.

He proposed that the government consider allowing leisure travellers from high-risk countries with a negative PCR test into the country. Currently, restrictions allow business travellers from high-risk countries to enter South Africa with a negative PCR test, but not leisure travellers.

He also proposed that the government do without the risk-based country categorisation model and implement a paperless process for all visa applications and other home affairs processing.

He proposed all travellers to download the Covid-19 alert app and complete the tourist locator form to ensure that details of the trip, including accommodation and length of stay, are captured.

Screen all travellers on arrival at the airport by Port Health officials, and if a traveller displays any symptoms, they will be referred to a dedicated private testing centre at the airport, which will need to be set up.

The letter also proposed that any travellers who test positive will be required to quarantine at an accommodation venue of their choosing for 10 days and at their own expense, and that clear and easy to access information needs to be provided on government webpages.

"There is simply no greater risk for transmission of the Covid-19 virus based on the purpose of travel, yet the negative impact of continuing to limit the entry of leisure travellers to South Africa, especially from our key source markets, is severe and extreme.

"International markets are a key economic driver for the tourism sector in the Western Cape, and so the full reopening of our borders to leisure travellers, with stringent health protocols in place ahead of the summer season is absolutely critical to the sector’s immediate recovery, medium-term stability and long-term survival.

"The tourism sector is a major contributor to the economy and employment in South Africa and the Western Cape. In 2019 international tourism contributed R81.2-billion in total foreign direct spend (excluding capital expenditure) in South Africa. Leisure travellers from key source markets such as the United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands and France make the most of our favourable exchange rate and have a high spending potential which positively impacts our local economy," he said.

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