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STATEMENT BY THE MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS

On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I have written to the newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, to welcome her into her new position, and to highlight the critical areas within this portfolio that need immediate action.

In my communications, I highlighted the campaign spearheaded by the City of Cape Town to enact a remote worker visa – an issue that I brought to the attention of Minister Sisulu’s predecessor, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

Cape Town is already a highly favoured location for digital nomads. Enabling the visa – with specific parameters – would simply require National Government to make provisions in the Immigration Act for a period longer than three months. Other countries have had great success with this type of visa and it would give South Africa greater appeal to a far broader category of tourist.

I also mentioned the urgency required to work on removing South Africa from the UK’s so-called ‘red list’.

This is a campaign supported by, among others, the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association and the City’s Destination Marketing Partner, Cape Town Tourism.

The UK is our biggest tourist source market and so their decision to keep South Africa on this red list – which dissuades travellers from going to listed countries because of its very high quarantine costs – has resulted in us losing out on a large amount of British travellers.

Lastly, we need the Minister to put further pressure on the National Transport Department to approve Delta’s request to fly direct to Cape Town.

The US is a key tourist market for Cape Town and the majority of their travellers to South Africa include 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.

Further, there could be other implications for relations and agreements with the US who said that it is considering ‘the rescinding of South African Airway’s existing authority to co-terminalise services in the United States’.

All these issues speak to goals set out in the City’s Ten Point Tourism Strategy aimed at breathing life back into the sector. They will also be included in my tourism plan to be announced next month as factors to be mindful of as we prepare for our summer ‘visitor’ season.

Few industries have been more shell-shocked than that of tourism by this pandemic.

There is much more work ahead and the pandemic has hastened the necessity with which all levels of government must act to revitalise our economy, its industries, and people’s livelihoods.

I look forward to working closely with Minister Sisulu in the months ahead.

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