Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu Overjoyed by SA's Removal From EU Nations' Red Lists

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu Overjoyed by SA's Removal From EU Nations' Red Lists

  • Minister of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu is thankful to European Union countries for lifting the travel ban on South Africa
  • The country was placed on the EU bloc's Red List following the discovery of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in November
  • Since the bans were reintroduced at the end of last year, the tourism industry lost over R1 billion in cancelled bookings
  • Several other southern African countries, including Lesotho, Botswana and Zimbabwe, have also had their travel bans lifted

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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa is no longer on the Red Lists of European Union (EU) countries, a decision that Lindiwe Sisulu, the former Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation and current Tourism Minister, is welcoming with open arms.

The decision to remove South Africa from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s list follows the country's discovery of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. Sisulu said the move was welcomed but lamented the devastating impact of the travel bans on the economy.

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Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, European Union, Travel ban, EU bloc, Omicron variant, Covid 19, Tourism industry, Southern Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe
Lindiwe Sisulu is satisfied with the country's removal from the EU bloc's Red List. Image: Deaan Vivier/ Beeld
Source: Getty Images
"The travel bans were reimposed in late November amid the peak of the tourist season, leading to over R1 billion being lost in cancelled bookings. In any event, we welcome visitors from the EU to our shores and affirm their safety is assured," said Sisulu, thanking tourism stakeholders for advocating for the removal.
"It's the fulfilment of the sustained lobbying efforts and dedication from stakeholders. The plans and strategies we put together are producing results, and we should continue to work towards reviving our industry," added Sisulu.

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Basic health protocols to apply

Her celebration trails the criticism directed at her for an opinion piece published on IOL last week, in which she rubbished the moral standing of the country's judges and questioned whether the Constitution had adequately dealt with issues brought about by apartheid.

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Briefly News understands EU member states, having ceased air travel to South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia and Zimbabwe, resolved to resume flights to the region on Monday. Travel was restricted as scientists rushed to assess the seriousness of the Omicron variant.

But travellers from the region will still be required to adhere to health protocols applicable to travellers from third world countries. Despite an outcry from the region, the EU bloc maintained the limits even after cases continued to surge worldwide.

US to end travel ban to South Africa

Elsewhere, Briefly News reported that the travel ban imposed on South Africa and other southern African countries was set to be lifted in the last week of December after a formal announcement by US President Joe Biden.

The ban was imposed due to fears surrounding the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, the threat of which officials in the country said is understood better, according to a statement released by the White House on Friday.

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With the variant now widespread across the globe, travellers from the region will not have a wholly impact on the cases in the US, BusinessTech reported.

According to News24, Biden's proclamation will bring the decision to end the ban into effect at midnight on Friday, 31 December.

Source: Briefly News

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