South Africa is still on the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’, and factors that have played a role in the country being placed on the 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.
Stats SA reported that the UK topped the overseas visitor list for South Africa in both 2019 and 2020 whereby more than 430 000 UK travellers visited SA in 2019. Yet, the beginning of 2021 saw a significant decline as fewer than than 8 000 UK travellers arrived in SA during the first five months of this year. This is according to the latest tourism and migration data published by Stats SA.
This has severely impacted the South African economy to the point where it’s now losing over R180 million every week it remains on the UK’s ‘red list’ for travel, as a new study from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reveals.
The global tourism body’s research shows these restrictions could represent losses of over R790 million every month based on 2019 UK visitor numbers and spending. This amounts to more than R26 million every day, BusinessTech explains.
In a media statement as per BusinessInsider, senior vice president of the WTTC, Virginia Messina said that “The impact the UK’s traffic light system imposes on ‘red list’ countries is not only damaging the Travel and Tourism sector, but also economies around the world.
“Our data shows that every day South Africa remains on the UK’s ‘red list’, the country faces losing millions of dollars, effectively delaying the global socio-economic recovery.”
It is crucial for the South African government to continue ramping up the vaccination programme to restart international travel and enable economic recovery, Messina adds.