IATA has a point, it’s time to fly again and welcome foreign guests

Airlines worldwide are pleading with governments to re-open the airways so foreign travel can resume without the restrictions that are still hobbling international business and tourism.

Nowhere is the plea echoed more strongly than in the Western Cape, where the Covid-19 disaster and Government’s actions have decimated the tourism industry, putting thousands out of work, shutting down restaurants, even hotels and B & B’s, whose foreign clients have vanished.

The loss in foreign exchange and tax revenues has been enormous. It has meant truncating welfare services, and interfered with high value exports that depended on airlines to deliver to northern hemisphere customers.

That the ban on airlines flying internationally needs to be lifted not only makes economic sense, it is a move backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has developed protocols to allow the safe resumption of air travel, worldwide. These keep passengers safe and reduce the risk of countries importing new cases of Covid-19.

IATA acknowledges that protecting citizens is a top priority of governments…“But too many…are fighting a global pandemic in isolation with a view that closing borders is the only solution.

“’It’s time for governments to work together to implement measures that will enable economic and social life to resume, while controlling the spread of the virus,” it said.

The Western Cape Tourism industry and the National Treasury can only agree. It’s time to fly again and welcome foreign guests.