The International Relations Department has joined those who are welcoming the United Kingdom’s (UK) decision to remove South Africa and ten other African countries from its red list, saying the ban was unjustified in the first place.
The government of South Africa welcomes the announcement by the UK to remove South Africa from the #redlist. This is what President Cyril Ramaphosa has been calling for. The unscientific travel ban had a devastating impact on 2-way business, travel & tourism industry & families.
— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) December 14, 2021
The other countries are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The UK reintroduced the red list last month after South African scientists pioneered in the detection of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The department’s Head of Public Diplomacy, Clayson Monyela, says: “It was unjustified and unscientific to begin with. The closure of borders and banning travel went against the advice of the WHO, the United Nations and scientists. The impact of the ban has been devastating for two-way business, the travel and tourism industry as well as on families.”
“The question I have for the UK is, now that you have admitted that these bans were pointless but very damaging, are you going to compensate South Africa? We do hope that in future, countries will be guided by science,” adds Monyela.
UK High Commissioner to South Africa Antony Phillipson explains the decision to remove South Africa from the travel “red list”:
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company believes the United Kingdom’s decision to remove South Africa from the ‘red list’ can help to economically resuscitate the tourism industry this festive season.
Company managing director Wahida Parker says the news couldn’t have come at a better time.
“The news of us being taken off the UK Red List couldn’t have come at a better time. We were really in a long dark tunnel, and this is the shining light at the end of that tunnel. I sincerely hope that this means that the industry will be able to resuscitate itself and that all of us can look forward to a booming, beautiful season here in Cape Town.”
Meanwhile, the decision to lift the travel bans has also been welcomed by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.
Council CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa says they hope the bookings will start increasing in the next couple of days.
“It is welcomed news although a little bit too late in terms of bookings that have been cancelled. We are hoping that in the next 24-48 hours we will see some action in terms of re-bookings, and also some action from airlines reinstating some of the capacity that they had taken off, and hopefully, we will see even more people trying to travel between the countries.”
Report | UK lifts travel ban on South Africa and other African countries:
-Additonal reporting by SABC News