Cape Town is ready to embrace guests as soon as countries and regions such as the United Kingdom remove South Africa from their ‘red list’ of travel destinations.
Factors that have played a role in SA’s addition to the ‘red list’ includes concerns around the efficacy of vaccines against the Beta variant, the slow start of the vaccine rollout and SA’s medical status and readiness.
In addition to this, the labelling of variants based on their origin has also stained the country’s reputation. However, Cape Town Tourism has partnered with SATSA to get SA off the ‘red list’ for international travellers from the UK.
According to the Chairperson of the Cape Town Tourism board, Brett Hendricks, “The UK has taken steps and made decisions to effectively block their residents from travelling to South Africa and other African countries and regions.”
“SATSA and other industry stakeholders are working hard to change this and to open up travel from what is one of our key source markets.
“As per Stats SA, the UK topped the overseas visitor list for South Africa in both 2019 and 2020.
“We are hoping that these efforts allow South Africa to have a voice in the UK travel debate that is currently happening,” Hendricks notes.
“We know there is pent-up demand for British travellers to visit Cape Town, but that current restrictions make this almost impossible and prohibitively expensive,” says David Frost, CEO of SATSA.
“We have been spearheading this campaign since May to provide a credible voice for UK-based politicians on the science, economic impact of the ban and impact to conservation and communities caused by the indefinite inclusion of South Africa on the UK’s ‘red list’. The demand for travel to South Africa exists and as the vaccination roll out ramps up and South Africa’s spring is around the corner, we are single-minded in our mission to have restrictions lifted in time for the next season.
“We assure all travellers visiting our shores that we have put world-class health and hygiene protocols in place to ensure the safety of guests and staff. We have had over a year of robust domestic travel to ensure that tourism establishments and experiences are ready to welcome visitors to Cape Town and South Africa safely,” Frost adds.
The Cape Town tourism industry has prioritised safety by means of restaurants that have changed seating plans, hotels have adapted to serve food in an entirely different way while also looking at ways to do digital check-ins. Many establishments have also elevated their outdoor offerings while upgrading certain facilities.
Visitors can therefore benefit not only from slick amenities and wide-open outdoor spaces but also on enjoying a holiday without the crowds.
“We are ready to welcome visitors! We just need to get off the ‘red list’ now. This is why we are throwing our voice and weight behind SATSA on its ‘Red List’ Lobbying Project,” says Hendricks.
“We need to work together to ensure that Cape Town and South Africa continue to be a desirable destination for all. We need everyone’s help in making Cape Town a safe destination for all,” he concludes.