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As Omicron sweeps across Europe, what's the point of restricting travel from SA?

23 December 2021 6:26 PM
Tags:
Tourism
The Money Show
Tourism industry
travel ban
tourism Business Council of South Africa
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa
Tourism Business Council of SA
quarantine
COVID-19
TBCSA
red list
Omicron

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa discusses the Tourism Business Council's open letter to the head of the EU Delegation on The Money Show.

Countries in Europe are tightening Covid-19 restrictions as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the continent.

At the same time travel bans and quarantine requirements are restricting movement between European Union (EU) countries and South Africa.

© millenius/123rf.com

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) this week wrote an open letter to the head of the EU Delegation, Riina Kionka, calling for the resumption of travel.

It says ongoing travel bans could cost South Africa’s tourism sector another R25 billion.

RELATED: South Africa removed from UK red list, along with 10 other countries

Wasanga Mehana (in for Bruce Whitfield) speaks to TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.

The European Union, as a block, gave us around 685,000 tourists [a year] and many of the member states have taken a stance of banning [travel] or putting in a quarantine requirement... for people coming from South Africa and the region.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa

If you look at what that market contributes to South African tourism in terms of tourist arrivals and you look at the impact on the economy, you will see what we lose...

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa

Instead of talking to individual EU countries, if we can talk to the entire block and have influence on the decision making in Brussels and support them by giving them information on the impact of this ban we believe we should be able to succeed.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa

Tshivhengwa says the Council has also written individually to the embassies of several countries that are key to local tourism like Germany, France and the Netherlands.

RELATED: South Africans can now travel to Netherlands after travel ban lifted

They have already had a "fruitful" discussion with the German embassy, but it's necessary for the EU as a whole to adopt similar rules to enable free travel he emphasizes.

Omicron is here in South Africa and it is there in the EU, and the member states within the EU are able to travel to each other... Why block people from South Africa travelling into those countries? It doesn't make any sense.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa

We understand that Omicron was unknown at the beginning, but when the information started to emerge... the UK then decided to lift the [travel] ban... and Canada... but the countries within the EU are not in a rush to lift the ban.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa

It's unjustifiable that the ban needs to continue. The same with the US and many other countries...

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa

Listen to Tshivhengwa discuss the outlook for tourism going into 2022:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : As Omicron sweeps across Europe, what's the point of restricting travel from SA?




23 December 2021 6:26 PM
Tags:
Tourism
The Money Show
Tourism industry
travel ban
tourism Business Council of South Africa
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa
Tourism Business Council of SA
quarantine
COVID-19
TBCSA
red list
Omicron

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