South Africa must remove the negative PCR test requirement for incoming travellers who are fully vaccinated to stimulate inbound tourism demand.
Several countries with a strong tourism value proposition have already done so. Further delays in following suit quickly are detrimental to the country positioning itself as travel ready and attractive, says Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO Tourism Business Council of South Africa.
“We have a very small window of opportunity as tourism destinations around the world like Australia reopen and others like the United Kingdom remove the negative PCR testing requirement for all inbound travellers,” says Tshivhengwa.
The TBCSA is again calling for this action just days after the Government of Botswana announced that fully vaccinated travellers would no longer be required to furnish a negative PCR test to enter the country, thus elevating the destination’s attractiveness for inbound international tourists.
Says Tshivhengwa: “Beyond the requirement being difficult and expensive for many of our international visitors, the World Health Organization has reiterated that international travellers should not be considered a priority group for PCR testing and that those who have been fully vaccinated should be exempt from heightened travel restrictions.”
As South Africa sees international travel returning to some level of normality, and acknowledging that for travel to happen, the destination needs to deliver ease of travel to incoming visitors, it is essential that South Africa follow suit and remove this requirement.
“Our tourism industry needs to get back to business and our people need to get back to work. Travellers are ready to visit and further contribute to our industry’s growth. However, the PCR test requirement is the biggest inhibitor,” Tshivhengwa concludes.