ASTA was joined on Friday by its global peers, including the Association of South African Travel Agencies, in once again calling on governments around the world to lift country and region-specific travel bans.
“The recent and stricter border closures have severely affected the already complex international travel,” the associations said in a statement, adding that the new border measures had “had significant economic impacts on travel and tourism businesses which could do not add additional Community protection “.
In recent weeks, the United States and a number of other countries have imposed various travel restrictions on countries in southern Africa, where the omicron variant of Covid-19 was first discovered. But since South Africa’s announcement of a new variant, it has been detected in several countries, arriving and spreading several times before border checks took place.
Border closures and other restrictions were quickly rejected by leaders in the travel industry and the World Health Organization.
ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby was one of six signatories to a statement reiterating an anti-border border position. He was joined by Otto de Vries, CEO of South African travel agencies; Wendy Paradis, President of the Canadian Association of Travel Agencies; Lars Thykier, president of the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance; Eric Dresin, Secretary General of the European Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators; and Vanessa Ledesma-Berrios, Interim CEO and Managing Director of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.
“It is essential that government policy be guided by science, and not by political pressure or the desire to be seen as ‘doing something’, as these measures have a significant, sometimes irreversible impact on businesses and jobs. “, said the associations.
Governments, they said, should prioritize vaccine distribution and support freedom of movement with measures such as masking, sanitation, testing and proof of vaccination. Heads of government should also provide financial support to businesses dependent on travel, they added.