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South Africa Says Tourism Will Suffer Due to Omicron Travel Bans
At a time when South Africa is looking to climb out of a pandemic-induced economic hole, South Africa says its tourism will drop due to new travel bans and restrictions enacted by more than a dozen countries.
The United States, Great Britain, Australia and more have put new restrictions in place on travel to and from South Africa and at least eight other southern African nations in the wake of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
“The threat of the fourth wave and new mutation of the #coronavirus resulting from the recently discovered variant potentially looms large in the horizon.” @DDMabuza #SanacPlenary
— Presidency | South Africa (@PresidencyZA) November 27, 2021
Tourism represents three percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product.
“So this is hugely important for Cape Town,” Geordin Hill-Lewis, the Mayor of South Africa’s largest city, told AfricaNews.en. “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 saying ‘We had a full December booked with tours for the first time.’ Small hotel owners and BnB owners (are) saying everyone’s cancelled. It’s just really, really bad news.”
In fact, the country believes it is being “punished” for its world-renowned epidemiologists and scientists who first discovered the Omicron variant.
“This latest round of travel bans is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker,” the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement. “Excellent science should be applauded and not punished.”