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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased travel recommendations for more than 110 countries, including South Africa.
South Africa moved from its highest level 4 to level 3, which prompts its citizens to ‘Reconsider Travel’.
“Reconsider travel to South Africa due to Covid-19. Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime and civil unrest,” the CDC said on its website.
It further stated that “violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and “smash-and-grab” attacks on vehicles, is common.”
Furthermore, it stated that there is “a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark” and that “demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently.”
According to the travel advisory, “these can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.”
Among its tips, it mentioned that travellers should “avoid visiting informal settlement areas unless you are with someone familiar with the area” and “do not display cash or valuables.”
While it’s good news that there has been an easing of travel recommendations, this advisory does paint South Africa in a violent light.
And it could hinder SA’s efforts to lure back international travellers.
Last week, South African Tourism (SAT) and TBCSA announced the launch of the Global Tourism Advocacy Programme that forms part of the Tourism Road to Recovery plan to resurrect travel demand.
According to SAT, the programme will focus on the causal issues for adverse travel positioning in each source market ranging from policy, trade, commercial, media, influential voices and social media dynamics.
The programme will assess the supply-side visitor experience dynamics leveraging positivity and highlight gaps that the sector may need to address to meet demand when markets reopen to South Africa. The programme also seeks to find market access channels for new products and experiences.
TBCSA chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said the negative global narrative in the Red List casts South Africa in a negative light in terms of how the country is handling the pandemic.
“This has a negative effect on tourism attractiveness. This partnership between TBCSA and SA Tourism and the consequent global advocacy programme will assist in cementing the tourism recovery plan and will revive the tourism sector,” said Tshivhengwa.