The travel ban imposed on South Africa announced by the United Kingdom and other countries has thrown the tourism industry into chaos.
The United States and Australia have also joined the list of countries banning travelling from South Africa.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, many still feel that the travel ban is unnecessary.
“I think COVID-19 is a very serious thing, but on the other hand, we’re always going to have new variants, so, I don’t know how we’re going to keep locking down every time we find a new variant,” a British tourist, David Good, said.
For the tourism industry in South Africa, representing around 3 per cent of GDP, the new travel ban represents a big problem, particularly, at a time when the recovery is struggling to gain traction.
“So, this is hugely important for Cape Town. There are tens of thousands of families that rely on the tourism industry. And the whole day I’ve been flooded with messages from tour operators. We had a full December booked with tours for the first time, small hotel owners and BnB owners saying everyone’s cancelled. It’s just really, really bad news,” Mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, laments.
The World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned against imposing travel restrictions, saying it will take weeks to understand the implications of the newly discovered strain.