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By Citizen Reporter


SA companies with UK headquarters to be badly impacted by travel ban

Those able to travel to the UK on exemption will now have to quarantine at hotels, a costly exercise for an already ailing business travel sector.

As the business travel industry began to show signs of a tentative recovery, it was hit with yet another red list announcement from the UK. 

This is set to deal a massive blow, especially to companies with UK headquarters, Corporate Traveller GM Oz Desai said on Friday. 

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After the UK government’s decision to ban all direct commercial and private flights from South Africa, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe after the Omicron (B.1.1.529) Covid-19 variant was discovered, a number of other countries followed suit. 

At present, travel to and from South Africa and other African countries is banned in Germany, Italy, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, the US, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Australia, amongst others. 

This despite the World Health Organization on Friday cautioning against imposing travel restrictions, saying it would take weeks to understand the implications of the new variant. 

Surging costs due to travel ban 

Desai said most South Africans will not be able to travel to the UK, and if people do have exemption permits, quarantining at government-approved hotels will be mandatory. 

ALSO READ: Tourism, hospitality industries slam UK’s ‘knee-jerk’ travel ban

“The reality is that the cost and inconvenience of quarantines at government-approved hotels in the UK is a major deterrent for South African business travellers,” Desai said. 

Other sectors bracing to be severely impacted include tourism and hospitality, especially in light of the last-minute ban being instituted just before the festive season.

“The new bans are likely to have a significant impact on efforts to grow and nurture corporate traveller confidence.”

Desai said Corporate Traveller is however hopeful that travel restrictions will be lifted soon, once more clarity on the vaccine efficient against the Omicron variant is provided. 

Travellers currently affected by the ban are advised to monitor Corporate Traveller’s social media channels for any updates. 

Compiled by Nica Richards