South Africa: disappointment following UK travel ban on SA

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu expressed disappointment at the UK government’s decision to put South Africa on its red list of travel bans following the discovery a new variant of COVID-19.

“Although this is very disappointing, South Africa will continue to work with policymakers in the UK, Japan, Israel and [the] the EU to ensure that the best possible interventions are put in place. I would like to congratulate South African scientists for their diligence and all the work they have done and I remain confident that all measures will be put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus, “the minister said in a statement on Friday.

The UK – along with Japan, Israel and the European Union – have all decided to impose tougher measures against South Africans traveling to their part of the world.

The move came hours after the South African Department of Health announced the discovery of the B.1.1.529 variant of the coronavirus.

Sisulu said South Africa remains open for business and tourist travel.

“We appreciate the continued support of various partners around the world and are convinced that across the world and with the tourism recovery plan in place, we will revive demand and become a strong tourism again.”

For the industry, she said the virus continued to have devastating effects.

The minister said the decision by the three governments and the EU pre-empted the World Health Organization’s advice on next steps of course after the variant was discovered.

Meanwhile, Sisulu is due to attend the 24th session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid, Spain, from November 30 to December 3, 2021. During this session, the Minister will engage her counterparts and assure the world that South Africa is open to tourists and that measures are in place to ensure their safety.

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