Proposed amendments to travel requirements by Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla on March 4, potentially making it easier and cheaper to travel to South Africa, were hosted by the representative organization of the hospitality industry, the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa).
Details of the proposals, which will be presented to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) in the coming week, will only be available after any proposed new regulations have been presented to the NCCC and approved.
Fedhasa national president Rosemary Anderson says scrapping the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers is imperative if companies are to start rebuilding the tourism and hospitality sector.
“Many destinations, including recently South Africa’s neighbor Botswana, have already removed the requirement for vaccinated travelers to provide negative PCR tests.”
She adds that ease of accessibility plays a major role in travelers’ decision-making when choosing a destination and that the PCR test has always been a major stumbling block hindering inbound travelers, who do not have always easy and affordable access to the PCR test in their own country. the country.
Additionally, the cost and inconvenience of mandatory PCR testing is exacerbated if travelers visit multiple destinations in southern Africa during a typical two-week or ten-day vacation period, Anderson says.
Fedhasa says it has also been particularly damaging to the cruise industry, as the impossible logistics of arranging PCR tests and processing them has reduced South Africa’s attractiveness as an itinerary stop.
In that regard, the approval of these proposals would be a welcome relief for hospitality businesses fighting to rebuild, preserve jobs and contribute to the economy, she said.
“Mass unemployment is one of the biggest problems facing South Africa and our sector holds the key to economic growth and job creation.
“For us to realize our potential and be the catalyst our economy needs, decisive decisions based on science and global best practices are needed sooner rather than later,” says Anderson.