As calls intensify for South Africa to scrap PCR tests – and for harmonised entry regulations across southern Africa – Tourism Update readers continue to highlight the impact of the PCR test regulations.
UK-based owner of Pembury Tours, Vernon Wait, noted: “The reality is that until the PCR requirement is lifted, tourism to SA and Southern Africa will not recover. Who would pay for a vacation to Southern Africa knowing that the day before departure, they need to have a PCR test and, if they test positive, they cannot travel? Far rather book a vacation to a country that does not require a PCR test.”
Hotelier, Andrew Bannister, agreed, highlighting that his Bannister Hotel in Johannesburg used to get a significant portion of our bookings from Zimbabweans. “That market has dried up (almost completely) as they are price sensitive and the PCR tests add significantly to the cost of travel.”
German-based operator, Clemens Gjertsen, added: “It is not only the costs of PCR-tests, but also the high costs of cancellation cost for flights, accommodations and other arrangements booked.
“Where tourism suppliers where pretty flexible in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic with refunds or cost-free changes of travel plans, these flexibilities are less common and disappearing. “
Gjertsen continued: ”So, the financial risk of a positive PCR (which, as Omicron showed, can happen to everybody without being sick or being a risk for health care) is huge.”