South Africa’s tourism sector recovery will be boosted by Germany’s decision to remove SA from its Covid-19 “high-risk” countries list.
Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu said this is great news for South Africans who travel for leisure and business.
“The decision of the German government means that vaccinated travellers from SA no longer need to have an explanation of the purpose of entry and can travel to Germany, subject to the validity of their passport and Schengen visa.
“We are looking forward to welcoming back German tourists to SA,” Sisulu said.
She said Germany had, for some time, been among SA’s top five overseas markets.
Sisulu added that the decision to remove SA as a high-risk country would go a long way in helping to recover and rebuild market losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The department said with September being tourism month in SA, Sisulu is hosting the continental tourism sector at the hybrid Africa’s Travel & Tourism Summit, in Johannesburg, Durban, Lagos and virtually.
“We thank the German government for this progressive and scientific decision that contributes directly to the efforts to recover the tourism sector,” Sisulu said.
“This announcement comes shortly after Emirates announced that they have increased their schedule to 28 weekly flights by October. This is a big boost to our tourism industry, and it will see more people travelling for both leisure and business.”
Meanwhile the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) recently said the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa in December 2020, has not gained any meaningful presence outside the country owing to its low transmissibility and the effectiveness of vaccines against it.
Despite this, South Africa is still on the UK’s red list of countries not to travel to.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has also expressed government’s discontent over the United Kingdom’s (UK) decision to keep South Africa on its red list.
This means that South Africans travelling to the UK will only be allowed entry if they are British or Irish nationals or have residence rights in the UK. They would still be subjected to some tough measures – including a COVID-19 test and quarantining at a designated hotel – all at the traveller’s expense.
DIRCO minister Naledi Pandor says as government they are puzzled by the UK’s decision.
In a statement on Sunday, 19 September 2021, her office said families and business people in both the UK and South Africa are shocked that the restrictions remain in place, particularly given the progress that has been made in combating COVID-19.
“We firmly believe there is no reasonable basis for keeping South Africa on the red list and I am very disappointed,” Pandor said.