Recently appointed Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, has brought a bit of respite to the issue around South Africa being red listed on the UK’s traffic light system for travellers.
In her keynote speech at Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit this afternoon, Sisulu mentioned that she addressed the red list matter with the British Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa this morning. After some discussion, they had agreed to bring together scientists and advisors from both countries to conduct further research into the Corona-virus Beta variant that has so far created the perception that South Africa is a Covid hotspot.
According to Sisulu, the British government believes that the Beta variant – which allegedly circumvents all vaccinations – of the Corona-virus is a South African variant. “They are confusing the variant with South Africa because it was first detected here. But it does not mean that it is a South African variant. We have agreed to have a joint team of scientists to advise the South African and British governments so they may get us out of the red and come with the right result.”
Summit a “significant step” for tourism
The Summit kick-started on Monday, 20 September, and calls on all tourism role-players to reflect, reimagine and reignite the tourism sector in a bid to reawaken Africa. The summit is a hybrid event accommodating delegates participating physically and virtually. It is the first pan-African summit of its kind as it is being hosted in three cities simultaneously, namely Johannesburg, Durban and Lagos.
Sisulu felt that Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit is a significant step for the business events industry since limits on gathering numbers have been eased in South Africa. Up to 500 people may gather for outdoor events and 250 for indoor events. “Gatherings such as this summit, are crucial to the industry’s survival. Through such events, we connect, we share ideas and we create a new positive narrative of Africa, one that shifts from a continent in turmoil to one that is recovering steadily and ready to do business.”
She said that governments across the continent will have to show their commitment to reviving tourism as a crucial part of the economy. One of the measures that need to be taken is to ensure an effective vaccination rollout programme. “Reports have shown that tourism in countries with a high share of vaccinated people will rebound faster than in countries with a low share.”
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