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Western Cape proposes change to international travel rules

CAPE TOWN –Western Cape MEC for Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier has written to Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dlamini-Zuma with proposed changes to the risk-based approach to international leisure travel.

The tourism sector welcomed the reopening of international borders and ports, however, the risk-adjusted approach banned key source markets from entering the country due to their risk level.

Meanwhile, the current restrictions allow for business travel from high-risk countries upon a negative PCR test, but not for leisure travellers.

ALSO SEE: TRAVELLERS FROM THESE COUNTRIES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO VISIT SA

“There is simply no greater risk for transmission of the Covid-19 virus based on the purpose of travel, yet the negative impact of continuing to limit the entry of leisure travellers to South Africa, especially from our key source markets,” said Maynier.

“The tourism sector is a major contributor to the economy and employment in South Africa.

“In 2019 international tourism contributed R81.2-billion in total foreign direct spend (excluding capital expenditure) in South Africa.

“Leisure travelers from key source markets such as the United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands and France make the most of our favourable exchange rate and have a high spending potential which positively impacts our local economy,” he said.

ALSO SEE: INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: WESTERN CAPE TARGETS GERMAN TOURISTS

These are the proposed changes submitted to the national government:

  • Doing away with risk-based country categorisation model;
  • Requiring all travellers to present a PCR test on arrival, conducted at least 72 hours prior to arrival;
  • The PCR test result should not have to be signed by a medical practitioner (In many countries testing is conducted by a lab and results issued electronically);
  • Requiring all travellers to download the Covid-19 alert app and complete the tourist locator form to ensure that details of the trip, including accommodation and length of stay, are captured;
  • Screening all travellers on arrival at the airport by Port Health officials;
  • If a traveler displays any symptoms they will be referred to a dedicated private testing centre at the airport (these will need to be set up), which will be at the travellers own expense. This will prevent the use of public transport to reach testing facilities and therefore will limit the potential spread of the virus;
  • Any travellers who test positive will be required to quarantine at an accommodation venue of their choosing for 10 days and at their own expense;
  • Paperless processes need to be urgently developed for all visa applications and other home affairs processing;
  • Clear and easy to access information needs to be provided on government webpages, which need to be updated regularly;
  • Travellers who visit South Africa for business should be permitted to extend their stay for leisure purposes.

 

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