UK quarantine rules can devastate tourism

Travellers, including Britons returning to the UK, will have to self-isolate in state-provided hotels for 10 days, without exception, at their own expense.

01 February 2021 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

The United Kingdom (UK) government has announced a list of 30 high-risk countries, including Namibia, from which visitors into the UK will be required to enter quarantine upon arrival.

Travellers from these countries, including Britons returning to the UK, will have to self-isolate in state-provided hotels for 10 days, without exception, at their own expense.

It is reported that the quarantine is expected to cost about N$31 000 for 10 days self-isolating with meals served in their rooms and supervised by private security guards.

This will put holidays to large parts of Africa and Namibia off the cards for the foreseeable future.

This is on top of the fact that international arrivals to the UK now have to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken up to 72 hours before departure.

Namibia was also one of several southern African countries the UK recently added to its travel ban list in a measure to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus variant identified in South Africa.

Balance needed

Responding to the new announcement, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said it is implacably opposed to quarantines as while protecting the public is paramount, there needs to be a balance struck between health and economic priorities.

“These latest government proposals, to impose a 10-day hotel quarantine on those UK inbound travellers originating from so-called ‘high-risk’ countries, will still cause enormous damage to the travel and tourism sector.

“We firmly believe testing on departure and arrival for all travellers is the only way to halt the spread of the virus in its tracks, while still allowing negative testing passengers to travel in safety and restore international mobility. We will continue to urge the government to abandon ineffective and highly destructive quarantines, the WTTC said.

It added that the UK government must be transparent about the metric used to label a country as ‘high risk’.

Tourism operators have already expressed their concern about how this will impact on the Namibian tourism industry. The UK is one of Namibia’s top international tourism markets.

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