8 October 2021
Statement by the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities, Alderman James Vos
I’m delighted at the announcement by the UK government that they will be taking South Africa off their red list! This long-awaited decision follows weeks of lobbying by the City and our industry partners in Cape Town and around the country.
The Mother City has long been a favourite destination for British travellers. In 2019, readers of Britain’s Telegraph newspaper voted Cape Town their favourite city in the world for a seventh consecutive year. Last month, Travel + Leisure magazine’s global audience rated ours the best city in Africa and the Middle East and the 25th best in the world.
Following the update, I will be making contact with Britain’s High Commissioner and Consul General to share our plans for bringing back international travellers.
Our Destination Marketing Organisation, Cape Town Tourism, is ready to hit the ground running with a marketing campaign that will appear in international media, online, and in prime locations including London. We will also partner with top airlines to share the campaign on their flights.
Our points of entry are equally ready to welcome passengers. Cape Town International Airport – the best in Africa – boasts a new electronic checking system making it easier to process passengers.
The city also has a world-class cruise terminal at the V&A Waterfront outfitted with top-class equipment and staff, customs facilities, immigration desks, passenger infrastructure, restaurants, and baggage handling services.
While this is very welcome news, our work continues in calling on the South African National Government to institute several other key measures that will fully put the tourism industry – and economy – on the road to recovery.
The first of these is my ongoing appeal for National Government to announce a remote worker visa. Cape Town is already a highly favoured location for digital nomads who tend to be high-income spenders. Enabling the visa – with specific parameters such as not working for a local employer – would simply require provisions to the Immigration Act for a period longer than three months. I’m sure many travellers from the Northern Hemisphere would love to escape the winter weather for a few months and instead do their work from one of Cape Town’s beautiful beaches.
Similarly, the National Transport Department must heed our call and approve Delta’s request to fly to Cape Town. The US is a key tourist market with the majority of American travellers including the Mother City in their itineraries. The Transport Department’s decision to inconvenience international travellers in this way will severely impact Cape Town – and thus South Africa’s – tourism industry.
The visitor economy is everyone’s business and Cape Town is destination-ready!
South Africa removed from the UK’s ‘red list’