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Tourism industry wants to remove PCR testing requirement for vaccinated travelers

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBSA) says he is pleased to hear that the government plans to relax the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, which will benefit the tourism and catering.

On Friday, Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla indicated that the government intends to end the national state of disaster despite the country being a long way from achieving population immunity and vaccination rates falling.

Phaahla said the Ministry of Health was reviewing regulations to get Covid-19 under controland is set to present its new recommendations — including travel changes — to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) in the coming week.

The minister explained that this would make traveling in and out of South Africa easier and help guide the reopening of social activities.

“The proposal will include changes to travel requirements that could facilitate travel in and out of South Africa. We hope that the revised regulations will help reopen social activities, especially in the leisure and tourism areas,” he said.

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Speak with SABC News on Friday, TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said the easing of restrictions “should have taken a long time”, and called on the government to “act quickly” to do so.

“The first limitation that we want to remove immediately is that of negative PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test requirement for inbound travelers entering South Africa who are fully vaccinated.

“What we’re saying is that it should be easier for these travelers to get to South Africa…provided they don’t show any symptoms, we shouldn’t require a PCR certificate showing they’ve tested negative for COVID-19.

“So in other words, they should be able to travel to South Africa with their vaccination certificates,” he said.

Tshivhengwa said this should apply to persons under the age of 18 traveling with their parents and to South Africans traveling in and out of the country.

“If we do those things, we can get more tourism from our source markets in Europe, the US [United States] and China,” he said.

The TBSA chief said the industry supports mandatory vaccinations.

“The government has to decide whether it will be mandatory or not. The president has already stated that there are people investigating the matter, and we have applauded that for us. We have to get back to work.

“If we keep hesitating, we’ll talk about the same things for years and get too many unemployed. So we have the right of the economy and our people to move forward from this pandemic,” Tshivhengwa added.

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The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (fedhasa) also called for the removal of the PCR testing requirement to rebuild the tourism and hospitality industry.

“Many destinations, most recently South Africa’s neighbor Botswana, have already lifted the requirement for vaccinated travelers to deliver negative PCR tests,” said Fedhasa chair Rosemary Anderson. Technology News

Anderson said ease of accessibility will play an important role in travelers’ decision-making when selecting a destination and that the PCR test has always been a major stumbling block for inbound travelers, who don’t always have easy and affordable access to PCR tests. tests in their own country

She also argued that the cost and inconvenience of mandatory PCR testing is compounded if travelers visit multiple destinations in southern Africa during a typical two-week or 10-day vacation period, Anderson says.

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