The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has called on the government to lift Covid testing requirements for inbound tourists who are already fully vaccinated.
Speaking to the SABC, the tourism council said the move is necessary to help restart the local tourism industry as the current restrictions are a key deciding factor for people entering the country.
“Travelers who are fully vaccinated should be allowed to enter the country without presenting PCR tests because they are fully vaccinated.
“For those who are not fully vaccinated, they must produce a PCR test. Let’s do away with negative PCR requirements for travellers who are fully vaccinated to make sure that those who want to travel to Soth Africa can buy their ticket and enjoy the destination,” said chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.
Tshivhengwa noted that other international tourist destinations – including Botswana, Kenya, and the UK – have already made this move, while South Africa runs the risk of being left behind.
“Travellers choose destinations that are easy to travel to and besides, it is costly to get the PCR test,” he said.
Government officials are expected to meet this week to discuss ongoing lockdown restrictions in the country and the lifting of the national state of disaster.
In a media briefing on Friday (4 March), health minister Joe Phaahla said his department has been hard at work to formulate new regulations to replace the country’s state of disaster and is now ready to present its proposals to the cabinet and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).
Phaahla said these recommendations would replace the National Disaster Act. “We hope the reviewed health regulations and other regulations from other departments will assist in guiding a reopening – especially in the leisure and tourism industries,” he said.
The health minister said senior government officials are also likely to present policies on vaccine mandates in South Africa in the coming week.
Read: Lockdown is obsolete – and doing more harm than good: expert