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The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) has urged the government to remove the compulsory PCR test required for inbound international and returning SA travellers who are fully vaccinated.
This comes as the government announced major adjustments to Covid-19 regulations on Monday night, including that those who tested positive with no symptoms did not have to isolate, and that schools were now returning to daily attendance. These were welcomed by the association.
“The PCR test requirement is a deterrent to international travel and consequently the recovery of our tourism and hospitality sector,” Fedhasa national chair Rosemary Anderson said on Tuesday.
“Many other countries have removed the requirement to furnish the test if the traveller can prove they have been fully vaccinated. While we have been grateful to our domestic travellers for their support throughout the pandemic, there are many tourism and hospitality companies in SA that depend heavily on inbound international travel.
“The removal of this requirement will go some way to making SA attractive to visit again and helping these companies rebuild, preserve jobs and contribute to the economy.”
Anderson said a further deterrent was the requirement for visas and enhancing SA’s eVisa system.
“For many inbound travellers, obtaining a visa to visit SA is onerous and an impediment to travelling to the country. One must balance ease of access with the security needs of the country. It is our fervent hope that a proper eVisa system, and visa waivers for important segments such as remote workers, are introduced as a matter of urgency.
“One of the biggest problems facing SA is our mass unemployment, particularly in the youth segment of our population. Tourism holds the key to catalytic growth and job creation, but for it to contribute as it can and should, an enabling environment is required and a good start would be to tackle the PCR test requirement and our visa regime.”
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.