Corporate Traveller, a corporate brand of the Flight Centre Travel Group, said the corporate travel industry has been heavily impacted by the UK’s decision to put South Africa back on the red list following the discovery of a new COVID variant called B.1.1.529.
The UK government announced that South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe will move onto the red list at 12.00 midday Friday 26 November. There will be a ban on all direct commercial and private flights from these countries from 12.00 midday Friday 26 November to 4am Sunday 28 November. The decision from the UK government has been the catalyst for other countries around the world to also reconsider travel bans for travellers from South Africa. Countries who have put temporary travel restrictions include Germany, Singapore, Israel, the Netherlands and France amongst others.
“It is a massive blow for those South African companies who have headquarters in the UK. Most South Africans will not be able to travel to the UK, and for those who have an exemption to travel, quarantines at government-approved hotels will be mandatory. 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,” says Oz Desai, GM Corporate Traveller.
“This news comes at a time when the business travel industry was beginning to recover, and companies were contemplating international travel again. The new bans are likely to have a significant impact on efforts to grow and nurture corporate traveller confidence. However, Corporate Traveller is hopeful the travel restrictions will be lifted soon, as more accurate information becomes available on the B.1.1.529 variant, and more clarity is provided on the vaccine efficiency against the variant.”
Desai says that Corporate Traveller’s number one priority is to assist affected customers who are affected by the travel bans. Travellers are advised to keep an eye on the Corporate Traveller social media channels for updates on the latest developments as the situation evolves, or to reach out to their dedicated travel manager or customer success manager.