The United Kingdom’s notorious red list has dunked South Africa’s tourism in troubled waters, and the recent scrapping of the list has done little to let us come up for air.
According to a survey conducted among 600 members of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) and the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa), the tourism and hospitality sector lost R1 billion in cancelled bookings – in the first 48 hours after the most recent ban was implemented.
Many stakeholders have welcomed the UK government’s move to suspend the red list as of 15 December, but most experts agree that it’s too little too late.
European would-be travellers that were forced to cancel plans to visit South Africa are unlikely to make new bookings now, especially as many of them might have lost non-refundable deposits, flight tickets and other booking fees.
Otto de Vries, CEO of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (Asata) says he hopes the other countries that are still banning travel to and from South Africa will lift their bans too, sooner rather than later. ‘We urge that these countries react with the same swiftness and urgency now by also lifting their travel bans and restrictions on South Africa with immediate effect.’
‘We simply cannot have a repeat of December 2020 where restaurants and hospitality businesses bore the brunt of COVID regulations making travel and restaurant patronage unappealing and difficult,’ said Rosemary Anderson, chairperson of Fedhasa.
‘Our industry has had to endure being thrust from wave to wave for the past 20 months and it simply isn’t sustainable to keep businesses open and livelihoods intact. It is up to every South African to do their part and help us keep our doors open by complying with the protocols and getting their #jab4tourism.’
Picture: Getaway gallery