Tourism authorities welcome SA's removal from UK's travel red list

The UK made the announcement on Thursday after weeks of diplomatic to-and-fro and a lot of outrage over our continued presence on the list.

FILE: A group of tourists get off their tour bus at the bottom of the cable station to Table Mountain in Cape Town. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Travel and tourism authorities have welcomed South Africa's removal from the United Kingdom's travel red list.

The UK made the announcement on Thursday after weeks of diplomatic to-and-fro and a lot of outrage over our continued presence on the list.

Practically it means that from Monday, fully vaccinated South Africans can travel to the UK without having to quarantine and fully vaccinated UK tourists can come here, knowing that they won't have to quarantine on their return home.

If you're planning to travel to the UK as a South African, there are some rules to be aware of.

The UK does not recognise all vaccines but it does recognise the most prevalent in South Africa - the Johnson & Johnson and the Pfizer vaccines as well as Moderna and AstraZeneca.

You'll need to book and pay for a COVID-19 test that you must do by day two of your arrival in the UK.

You'll also need to fill out a travel disclosure 48 hours before your flight stating where you had travelled to recently.

That's because the UK wants to avoid allowing people in who've been to any of the seven Latin American countries still on the red list.

These rules apply to fully vaccinated people only.

Quarantine still applies to those who are unvaccinated.

CAPE TOWN READY FOR TOURISTS

Meanwhile, City of Cape Town Mayco member for Economic Opportunities and Tourism, James Vos, said that he was delighted by the UK government's announcement.

He said that it was a long-awaited decision following weeks of lobbying by the city and industry partners.

"The timing of this announcement comes at a critical time for tourism. This was a massive lobby effort from the industry and so from the city's perspective, we are really happy with the decision and proud to have played our part. We need this because Britain is a key source market for our city in terms of travel and trade."

Vos said that he would now contact Britain's high commissioner and consul-general to share plans for bringing back international travellers.

"Together with our destination marketing organisation, Cape Town Tourism, we are ready to hit the ground running with our tourism promotional campaigns to get those bookings confirmed because this is what counts for our tourism and hospitality sectors to benefit."

Vos said that the city's ports of entry were ready to welcome passengers, with the Cape Town International Airport boasting a new electronic check-in system.

"We are destination ready and with the summer season approaching, we can't wait to welcome back our tourists. The visitor economy is everyone's business."

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