Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) says the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is an ‘inconvenience’ in tourism which is not only onerous to obtain but expensive too.
Fedhasa says it is a small nuisance that has a lingering impact on family travel.
According to the new regulations, announced on 22 March 2022, only children under the age of five are exempt from having to give either a vaccination certificate or negative PCR test to travel to South Africa.
Fedhasa says the issue lies in the fact that many countries do not offer vaccinations to children between the ages of 5 and 12 years. South Africa doesn’t either.
“This means even if parents are fully vaccinated, a family with children aged between five and 12 years has no choice but to have to pay for PCR tests, which we know in certain countries like the UK is not only onerous to obtain, but also expensive,” says Rosemary Anderson, Fedhasa National Chairperson.
Anderson explained that it is expensive to obtain these PCR tests in certain countries such as the UK which is one of South Africa’s largest markets.
PCR test expensive
A PCR test can cost as much as R3,000 if issued within 12 hours as clinics in the UK are only located in major centres.
“Unless you live in a major centre, a family wanting to travel to South Africa has to leave home a day early and incur the additional cost of a night in a hotel and then bear the additional worry that their travel plans will be derailed entirely if their child tests positive.
“This doesn’t make sense when South Africa’s regulations state that if you are Covid positive, yet asymptomatic, there is no need to self-isolate.”
Anderson said when South Africa was red listed in 2021 by other countries it caused untold damage to the tourism and hospitality sector as well as job losses.
“A few months later and it would appear we’re scoring our own goal by precluding families with children between the age of five and 12 years from visiting South Africa because of this inconvenient rule.
“This, when we should be doing the exact opposite: making it as easy as possible for families to visit South Africa to make up for the massive job losses and lost revenue over the past two years,” said Anderson.
Compiled by Kgomotso Phooko
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