Tourism regulations

Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu. Image via Twitter

UK red list latest: Sisulu must break ‘deafening silence’ on travel bans – DA

With SA still languishing on the UK’s travel red list, the DA have demanded that tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu act urgently.

Tourism regulations

Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu. Image via Twitter

With South Africa still languishing on the UK’s notorious travel red list despite the country having recently opened up immigration from countries previously deemed to pose too much of a COVID-19 concern, calls are mounting for our own tourism leaders to urgently take action and rectify the situation. 

Current UK legislation states that travellers from red list countries – which was whittled down last week by UK transport MP Grant Shapp – must still undergo a costly mandatory 10-day quarantine period upon entering the country, regardless of vaccination status or  whether an individual presents a negative COVID-19 test result. 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) have called for SA tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu to “break her silence” on the matter and address the country’s dire position on the UK – and other country’s – red lists. 

SA ‘must be taken off red list’  

Manny de Freitas, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Tourism, said in a statement on Tuesday 21 September that Sisulu and her predecessors at the Tourism department have failed to support SA’s ailing travel industry, and that it’s high time that they do their part to allow the public greater travel freedoms. 

“The fact that South Africa has remained on the red list for travellers and tourists of various countries is an indictment of the bumbling and clumsy manner in which government has been handling the COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” said De Freitas, who said that the fact that SA’s vaccine rollout is considered questionable by the countries maintaining travel bans on the country is having a dire impact on the sector. 

“Countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, which rank the most important countries for tourism and trade for South Africa, have seen that the lack of certainty and efficiency by government and have as a result kept South Africa on their travelling red list. This has direct implications for tourism and the many jobs that will potentially be lost if we remain on red lists,” he said. 

Sisulu urged to respond  

De Freitas said that Sisulu has been “deafeningly silent on this issue”. 

“As Tourism Minister, Sisulu should be leading the charge, coordinated with other departments, in fighting that South Africa is taken off any red list.”

As things stand, any person travelling from South Africa to the UK will be subjected to COVID-19 testing and will have to quarantine for 10-days at designated hotels at the traveller’s own cost.  

Tourism industry ailing due to red list travel bans  

According to De Freitas, the prohibitive costs for South African travellers are around R47 000 per adult and R29 000 for children over 11 years of age.  

“Even children younger than 11 will need to be accommodated for about R7 000.  South African travellers to the USA will incur similar costs,” he said, adding that these extra costs will impact businesses and trade between these countries, “which are of the most important countries for South Africa”.

He said that the DA will therefore be writing to Sisulu enquiring what she and her department are doing to get South Africa off red lists and what she intends doing on this matter going forward.

“This situation cannot be left unattended as the tourism sector and the sub-sectors connected to tourism and travel continue to shed jobs and businesses daily.”