CAPE TOWN, (The Southern African Times) – A South African official on Monday said he has written to the UK’s foreign secretary to remove South Africa from UK’s “red list” of travel for tourism recovery, days after another official said he will raise the matter with UK’s top diplomat in the country.
David Maynier, Western Cape Province’s Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, in a press release, said he wrote the letter on World Tourism Day about the matter, which is “deeply disappointing” and seems “manifestly unfair.”
Only a British or Irish national, or a person who has residence rights in the UK are allowed to enter the UK if he or she has been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days.
Maynier said this is “a significant barrier to economic recovery, specifically for the tourism sector in the Western Cape.”
Tourism and hospitality sector in Western Cape, a popular tourism destination in South Africa, has been hard-hit in 2020 due to COVID-19, with an estimated loss of over 75,000 jobs, official figures showed.
According to research conducted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the South African economy could face massive losses of more than 181 million South African rands (about 12.1 million U.S. dollars) every week if it’s on the UK’s “red list.”
Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management of Cape Town, capital of Western Cape and legislative capital of the nation, last Thursday said he has been in constant communication with UK officials about the “red list” and will raise the matter with the UK’s high commissioner.
According to him, the Mother City has long been a favourite destination for British travellers.
In 2019, readers of Britain’s Telegraph newspaper voted Cape Town their favourite city in the world for a seventh consecutive year, he said, adding that earlier this month, Travel + Leisure magazine’s global audience rated Cape Town the best city in Africa and the Middle East and the 25th best in the world for travel.
On Monday, South Africa reported 578 new COVID-19 cases, bringing down the average number of new cases over the 7 preceding days to 1,912. The country, which has the highest national tally of COVID-19 in Africa, has reported more than 2.89 million cases in total.