UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps announced on Friday, 17 September that only eight countries would be removed from Britain's red list, and South Africa isn't one of them.
South Africa's tourism industry has responded with dismay, calling it a "kick in the teeth".
The announcement means that British travellers to South Africa, on their return, would have to spend 10 days in quarantine.
Red list remains
"This is a kick in the teeth for 1.5 million South African tourism workers who were relying on UK visitors this spring," said David Frost, CEO of the South African Tourism Services Association (Satsa).
"There isn’t a shred of scientific evidence to support keeping South Africa on the red list and the only conclusion left is that the UK government has an irrational fear of South Africa which is prejudicing decision-making. The UK government needs to urgently reconsider this classification to avoid irreparable harm to a relationship with a key ally and trading partner."
According to research conducted by the World Travel & Tourism Council, the South African economy could face massive losses of more than R181m every week it's on the UK's red list for travel...
17 Aug 2021
Traffic light system
Otto de Vries, CEO of Association Of Southern African Travel Agents (Asata) shared Frost’s sentiment saying that he is "deeply disappointed" by the outcome of the UK review of the traffic light system.
"Asata is deeply disappointed by the outcome of the UK review of the traffic light system. In the past month, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Mauritius, Seychelles and Spain have all relaxed travel restrictions for fully vaccinated South Africans. These countries highlighted that being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 exempts travellers from mandatory quarantines.
"There is therefore clearly no scientific reason that justifies keeping South Africa on the contentious UK red list for travel.
"We will continue to work with the TBCSA (as a board member) to get South Africa off red lists and other travel advisories.
"We maintain that travellers who can provide proof of vaccination should be allowed access to and from the country without Covid-19 tests or quarantines. For those who are not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated, a negative PCR test should be presented.
"The complexity and cost associated with South Africa being classified as a ‘red list’ destination will continue to be a major deterrent for South African travellers."
Supporting lobbying efforts
Rosemary Anderson, Fedhasa national chairperson added that the industry will continue to support lobbying efforts having said that the industry is disheartened with the news by the UK parliament that South Africa will remain on the "UK red list".
"Besides being one of the biggest source markets for South Africa, the travel restrictions have severely impacted trade and tourism between South Africa and the UK and Fedhasa had hoped for a positive outcome.
"Fedhasa will continue to support the lobbying efforts to remove SA from the so-called red list and hope to see a return to travel from and to the UK in the near future," said Anderson.
Busi Mavuso, chief executive of Business Leadership South Africa also added that "this is a baffling decision by the UK which appears to fly in the face of the scientific evidence they profess to follow.
"If the UK wants to project its values and free-market principles abroad, this is an odd way to go about it. We now need a clear and swift commitment from the British government that it will review South Africa’s travel status in the coming days."