Call continues for removal of South Africa from red-lists

The Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, and the Provincial MEC of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, are continuing in their efforts to lobby against existing international travel bans and red-lists and are making progress in engaging with international counterparts.

The Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, said: “There is no empirical evidence which supports travel bans stopping or reducing the transmission of the Omicron variant, and this has further been stated by the World Health Organisation. It is crucial that we get the balance right in saving lives and jobs and be guided by policies rooted in scientific evidence and best practice.”

The MEC of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said: “The impact of travel bans, even in the short-term, is that they have devastating effects on our economy. Globally, we need to see an awareness of the impact these ad-hoc bans have on airline capabilities, our tourism industry and the knock-on effects felt into multiple sectors as a result. I will be engaging those at the highest levels of government, our Ambassadors and Diplomatic Corps, as well as industry in a lobbying effort to put pressure on removing red-list status immediately”.

A three-phase lobbying effort is in full swing, with the Western Cape Government response spanning Health, National Government, the Diplomatic Corps, Cape Town Air Access as well as key private sector stakeholders. Led by MEC Maynier, the Western Cape Government is:

Calling a meeting with members of the Diplomatic Corps to discuss their government’s relevant criteria – this includes the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France and the USA;
Working with the airlines to offer assistance with lobbying efforts to their governments – this includes identification of airlines who are not currently lobbying; and
Offering support to national tourism associations including TBCSA, Fedhasa, Satsa, and SACCI in their efforts to apply pressure globally.

A Rapid Response Omicron Task Team, operated out of Wesgro, has further developed the “economic argument playbook” across tourism, trade and investment, and is engaging tourism members and associations as well as local businesses that may be affected by the knock-on effects of the red-list status. “All efforts are being made to protect the tourism sector from the damage caused by the uncertainty”, explained MECr Maynier.

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) also has continued to work in partnership with industry bodies as well as the National Department of Tourism to ensure that the industry proudly complies with globally aligned COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The Western Cape Government, together with local municipalities have activated season readiness plans to ensure that tourists can travel safely and with confidence, which includes the deployment of our tourism safety law enforcement team in the Cape Metro.