South Africa and Kenya are set to be removed from the UK’s so-called Red List of travel destinations as of Monday 11 October 2021, along with 46 other countries, many of which were in Africa.
Countries on the controversial list are those that the UK requires travellers who have recently been in to quarantine for 10 days even if they provide a negative COVID-19 test and are vaccinated.
SA and Kenya will now be qualified as “Rest of World” countries, which will mean that travellers from the African countries will no longer have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the UK and have to spend $3,108.93 in a so-called quarantine hotel.
The UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, made the announcement Thursday evening.
UPDATE: From Monday (11th Oct) 📅 I’ll be cutting 47 destinations from our red list – including South Africa, with just 7 countries and territories remaining ⚠️ – all others will be included in the “rest of world” category 🌐 [1/3]
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) October 7, 2021
Now, only 7 countries will remain on the Red List, most of which are South and Central American, including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
The international travel industry has met the new very positively. David Frost, CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) says that the decision was long overdue and will come as a huge relief to thousands of tourism workers in SA.
Frost says that its UK operators have already seen a surge in enquiries for UK-passport holders wanting to travel to sunny South Africa now enjoying the Southern Hemisphere’s Summer.
“Early estimates suggest that upwards of 300,000 British passport holders expect to visit friends and family or take advantage of highly competitive holiday deals across Southern Africa in the coming months,” Frost says.
Social Media Reacts
Across Twitter, reactions to the news have been positive, with many users welcoming the decision and some even taking advantage to promote their tourism businesses.
Great news for tourism industry 🙌🙌
— Lucky (@HendsumGuy) October 7, 2021
Such a relief that #Ethiopia & #Kenya are now off the UK red list. I’m just waiting for the US to open up & I’ll feel that I can get to all my loved ones when I need to. Not burying two close relatives in 2020 haunts me.
— Hewete Haileselassie (@Hewete) October 7, 2021
Good news finally.
— Paul Tully (@paul__tully) October 4, 2021
Kenya off the red list… pic.twitter.com/SfyIatO1JN
— KB (@aff_fanta) September 17, 2021
The children at The Walk Centre are as excited as we are that Kenya is officially off the red list 😁 They sent us this message to let our volunteers know that they can't wait to welcome them back! 🇰🇪 pic.twitter.com/mbqOv07qUZ
— African Adventures (@TripsInAfrica) October 8, 2021
As always some try to poke fun.
— Mthetheleli🇿🇦 (@Nxuba__Rhudulu) October 7, 2021
That's great but we're on the Eskom red-list now 🤣
— Rafi (@rafiqggmu) October 8, 2021
Many international users are welcoming the decision as well.
South Africa just came off the Covid Red List. That means humble travellers like me won’t any longer have the fun of enforced hotel quarantines, wretched food, and imaginary friends like Frank. https://t.co/SuGkJYT9m0
— TAHIR SHAH (@HumanStew) October 8, 2021
The UK’s inclusion of South Africa on the red list of travel destinations had effectively crippled tourism and trade with the country’s largest source market, the UK. The Tourism Business Council of SA estimates that the country’s tourism industry loses around $1.74-million every single day the country remains on the list.