FEDHASA has welcomed the announcement by Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, that proposals will be made to the NCCC in the coming week for amendments to travel requirements which could make it easier and cheaper to travel to South Africa.
Details will only be available after these proposed new regulations are presented to the NCCC and approved, he said in a press briefing today.
Rosemary Anderson, FEDHASA National Chairperson, says the removal of the PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers is imperative if businesses are to begin rebuilding the tourism and hospitality sector.
“Many destinations have already removed the requirement for vaccinated travellers to furnish negative PCR tests, most recently South Africa’s neighbour, Botswana.
“Ease of accessibility plays a major role in travellers’ decision-making when selecting a destination and the PCR test has always been a major stumbling block hampering inbound travellers, who do not always have easy and affordable access to PCR testing in their own country,” she says.
The cost and inconvenience of mandatory PCR tests are exacerbated if travellers are visiting multiple destinations in Southern Africa over the general two-week or 10-day holiday period, adds Anderson.
It has also been particularly damaging for the cruise line industry as the impossible logistics of organising PCR tests and processing them above cruise liners has reduced South Africa’s attractiveness as an itinerary stop.
The approval of these proposals would be welcome relief for hospitality businesses which are fighting to rebuild, preserve jobs and contribute to the economy, she adds.
“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 realise our potential and be the catalyst our economy needs, decisive decisions based on science and global best practice are required sooner, rather than later,” Anderson says.