“We did it, no more PCR for fully vaccinated travellers.”
These were the jubilant words from the CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, who–along with industry bodies such FEDHASA and SATSA – has long been lobbying for the costly, and risky, tests to be scrapped.
In his latest address to the nation earlier this evening (March 22), President Cyril Ramaphosa, announced changes to Alert Level 1 lockdown regulations that included an announcement that international travellers entering South Africa would now only need to show proof of vaccination or get a PCR test.
He added: “All unvaccinated travellers entering the country who wish to be vaccinated will be offered a vaccination.”
A number of tour operators have told Tourism Update recently that they were losing business because South Africa was still requiring these tests.
A UK tour operator pointed out today that in March 2019, 65% of the company’s new enquiries included South Africa. “To date (on March 22), that figure is just 37%. And this is off a lower overall demand base (about 60% of pre-COVID levels).
“It is not hard to work out the effect on tourism in South Africa. Dropping the requirement for PCR tests on arrival immediately is imperative,” he said.
Other welcome changes to the regulations include that masks are no longer mandatory outdoors and that both indoor and outdoor venues can now take up to 50% of their capacity.
This is provided that the criteria for entrance to the venue is a proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours.