South Africa has been on the UK’s ‘red list’ since May, and according to the World Travel & Tourism, the ‘red list’ is costing South Africa’s economy more than R790 million every month, or R26 million a day, in lost tourism spend.
With so much money on the line, the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) is lobbying for South Africa’s removal from the UK’s ‘red list’.
A petition was launched on 5 August and it gathered more than 10,000 signatures in less than a week. After a two-week waiting period, the UK government has finally responded to the petition and their response has seemingly left more questions than answers.
‘We will not compromise on the progress we have made on our vaccine programme by allowing people to freely mix abroad and return or travel to the UK without proper checks and procedures,’ the UK’s Department for Transport said in response to the petition.
‘At the most recent review on 4 August, it was decided that South Africa would remain on the ‘red list’ as South Africa continues to present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern,’ authorities said.
‘The British Government is treating the thousands of people who have signed the petition with contempt. It says it’s following the science yet has no data or evidence to back this up. We have illustrated that over 90% of infections in South Africa are Delta, the same variant found in the UK,’ Satsa CEO David Frost told Business Insider South Africa in response to the UK’s reaction to the petition.
Frost says they are determined to continue to push the petition and their lobby work in the UK in order to provide a soft landing for the British politicians to call for the lifting of the ‘red list’.