The end of mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers entering the UK from 11 African countries was greeted with a sigh of relief by many in South Africa.
Tour operators hope that the last minute change might be enough to lure some tourists back to the country.
“We are so late in December already, that we feel like things might not change, or that much at least, because a lot of people made plans for Christmas and New Years and not many might not want to travel such a last minute in terms of the travel ban.
So we are obviously just really hoping things change and people start to travel again because we’re obviously rely on international guests for our work and it’s obviously really important because we’ve been without work for a long time, it’s been almost two years”, said tour guide Nabeel Sayed.
The reintroduction in late November of mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers from South Africa into the UK was a blow to the tourism industry struggling to cope with lack of customers.
For some, the latest decision from the UK government offers a glimmer of hope.
“I can’t think of a better destination right now for people who are anxious about Covid.
South Africa is the perfect space, it has wide open spaces, fresh air, beautiful weather and I think we should be seen as the perfect destination to escape to and our low numbers relative to the rest of the world means this is a destination of choice right now”, defends Rashid Toefy, Deputy Director-General at Western Cape Economic Development and Tourism.
The UK is the largest overseas market for tourism into South Africa.
UK Ends mandatory quarantine in South Africa