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Cape Town Tourism has called for no Covid-19 tests for vaccinated travellers to eliminate any added cost to international travellers visiting South Africa.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has already requested that governments resolve the high cost of Covid-19 tests in many jurisdictions.
And, WHO’s latest guidance requests that vaccinated travellers be exempt from Covid-19 testing.
Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, said asking for Covid-19 tests from vaccinated travellers sounded a “tad bit” unreasonable.
“We are inclined to strongly agree with this approach, as we believe that doing away with this will encourage more people to travel.
“To ask for a mandatory Covid-19 test of those who have already been vaccinated, might be a tad bit unreasonable, and definitely another barrier put in place for those wishing to travel at this time.
“If it is non-vaccinated travellers, they should be asked to test to avoid quarantine, but then we also need to look at the costs of these tests,” he explained.
Enver said the vaccination roll-outs around the world offered hope that international travel is making a comeback. He said the destination was ready to get back to showcasing its attractions to the world.
“We need governments to take the advice of the WHO when it comes to vaccinated travellers. We cannot afford to have additional obstacles to overcome to attract our international visitors,” he added.
Alderman James Vos, MEC for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, including tourism at the City of Cape Town, said the added cost of Covid testing is expensive for most travellers.
“Travel has become increasingly more accessible in recent years, and especially now with many regions, companies and airlines running a number of specials to stimulate growth.
“This added expensive cost of a Covid-19 test is something that many cannot afford, and it will leave travel in the hands of just a few who can afford it. And it’s not only the cost that is a deterrent, there are time constraints that add to the inconvenience of the process. Although the process has improved somewhat, most turnaround timings are still 24-72 hours.
“We are calling on the South African government to allow for vaccinated travellers to travel to South Africa with ease and with no test requirement,” he said.
Vos reiterated that governments should reconsider their testing policies and requirements to help grow tourism.