Tourism sector in South Africa appears to be rebounding after news of UK removal from Red List
South African travelers will be eligible from Monday 11 October to travel without quarantine in the UK. Image: iStock
South Africa should be removed from the UK’s red list, which banned almost all travel between the two countries. Analysts say the move is expected to give a boost to the country’s tourism industry, which has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
South Africa is eligible for a non-quarantine trip to the UK from Monday, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
The UK on Thursday lifted strict Covid-19 quarantined travel rules for 47 destinations. The move follows months of lobbying from the South African government and the private sector, including an appeal from President Cyril Ramaphosa to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
UPDATE: Starting Monday (October 11) ?? I will remove 47 destinations from our red list – including South Africa, with only 7 countries and territories remaining ?? – all others will be included in the “rest of the world” category ?? [1/3]
– MP Rt Hon Grant Shapps (@grantshapps) October 7, 2021
Shapps said: “With midterm and winter sun right around the corner, we’re making it easier to reunite families and loved ones by drastically reducing the number of Red List destinations, in part thanks to increased efforts from vaccination around the globe. “
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of SA, told reporters that the UK’s redlist decision was a complete disaster for the country.
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Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Free Market Foundation, Tshivhengwa said the local tourism industry has already lost 470,000 jobs due to the lockdown.
He said at the time:
We could put 100,000 people back to work if we reopen the UK market.
Tshivhengwa also said the UK has traditionally been the biggest source of international tourists to South Africa and the local economy has lost around 720 million rand per month – around 181 million rand per week – as the country was on the red list.
Many hotel groups ‘share prices on the stock exchange have seen positive developments after Shapps’ announcement, Tshivhengwa said.
The South African tourism sector is undoubtedly one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. The latest available data suggests that the shock to the industry has resulted in severe revenue losses, including closures of domestic and international businesses, massive job losses, collapsing supply and demand on domestic and international markets, as well as continued pressure on the South African market. tourist brand due to the country’s association with new variants of the Covid-19 virus.
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In a closed-door presentation to the ANC in September on the state of South Africa’s economy, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said the domestic tourism sector had been hit hardest by the pandemic and that ‘It could take years for this important labor-intensive sector to recover.
City Press saw the presentation made to members of the ANC National Executive Committee. In it, the minister said overseas travel receipts fell sharply to R19.6 billion in the first quarter of 2021, and well below R120 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
He warned that new waves of Covid-19 infections globally and nationally, and the travel restrictions that accompany them, as well as a general reluctance by individuals to travel at this stage, could further delay recovery. of the sector.
“Despite some improvement, as some travel restrictions were lifted both globally and nationally in late 2020 and early 2021, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in South Africa is not currently only a small fraction of pre-pandemic levels, while occupancy rates remain very low for the industry as a whole, ”Godongwana said.
The Bureau for Economic Research (BER) released its latest tourism note on the pandemic and the country’s tourism sector in September.
BER economist Mia Slabber said South Africa received 10.2 million overnight international visitors in 2019, dropping sharply to 3.2 million in 2020 – “almost 70% lower than in 2019 ”.
Compared to 2019, day trips and overnight trips to South Africa decreased by 54% and 40% respectively in 2020.
So far this year, day trips are still 43.1% lower than 2019 levels and overnight trips are down 25%.
She said that due to the tourism industry’s links with the rest of the economy, the sector’s contribution to GDP increased from 7.2% in 2018 to 2.9% in 2020, and the number of The jobs supported by the industry rose from 1.6 million to 640,000.
The pandemic has also plunged the global economy into its most serious post-war challenge. Research shows that global production, employment, trade and investment have been negatively affected.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global recovery from the “severe collapse” of 2020 is expected to vary widely from country to country.
Max Alier, the IMF’s resident representative for South Africa, said the recovery in global tourism will depend on access to medical interventions aimed at containing Covid-19.
Alier said this indicates the importance of vaccine deployment in the global economic recovery.
“The global recovery of travel and tourism will depend on progress in the development of Covid-19 vaccines and their wide availability – an area where global public action can play a role. “
He said more than half of all advanced market commitments for vaccines were made by high-income countries.
“Meeting the challenge of universal accessibility for low-income countries will require collaboration between governments, the private sector and global health agencies,” he said.
Tshivhengwa said there is an uphill battle to boost demand for the tourism industry. He said travelers should trust South Africa as a tourist destination.
“We believe other countries will also open up travel to South Africa following this UK decision. Countries like Australia are following UK decisions closely. We also hope this will open up global tourism and increase international demand for South Africa, ”Tshivhengwa said.