Inbound industry association, SATSA’s lobby to get South Africa off the UK’s red list has entered its third and final phase as a “true collaboration of industry stakeholders” who have contributed insights and funding to drive the campaign forward, according to SATSA CEO, David Frost.
In May, SATSA appointed Eterna Partners, a leading PR and Strategy Consultancy based in the United Kingdom, to lobby on its behalf with a view to the resumption of travel between the UK and Southern Africa by October.
The three-phase campaign identified and leveraged areas of UK-SA interest and sought to build confidence in South Africa’s infection control and vaccination programme so that South Africa could establish a soft landing for British politicians to call for the lifting of the ‘red list’ embargo and establish broad political support for that vision.
“The lobby has been a lengthy process that has required us to work together with the medical and scientific community, continuously updating our data and narrative to reflect the situation on the ground. It is only through chipping away at what sometimes feels like an insurmountable challenge that our lobby has managed to reach politicians who have the ear of decision-makers in the UK, but there’s still a road to travel,” said Frost.
According to him, the SATSA campaign had gained impetus over the past three months, with industry crowdfunding various phases. “We received pledges ranging from R1 000 (€59) to R500 000 (€29 300) to fund the lobby. In addition, we have a steering committee, comprising association, private-sector and public-sector partners.
“This truly is an example of how our industry can pull together behind a common vision and we are grateful to all the individuals, companies and organisations that have committed funding for this important cause,” highlighted Frost.
“It was incumbent on us to move swiftly and present a data-driven and scientific case to the decision makers in the UK, something that our competitor destinations had been actively doing for months. It was clear that generating scientific reports for our own use and conversing amongst ourselves about the issue would have little effect. What was needed, and what we’ve demonstrated, is that one has to have a voice in the House of Commons and be speaking to UK politicians directly to effect any change.”
Frost added that this lobby was a tactical opportunity to get involved proactively in the UK political and media debate, putting the South African perspective across about the expertise of the scientific community, infection protocols, AstraZeneca efficacy, vaccination roll-out and the impact of the travel ban on our conservation efforts into the policy discussions.
“We needed our voice to be heard and we are pleased that, through this lobby, we are achieving it,” he said.
The latest organisation to back the initiative is Cape Town Tourism, which joins the ranks of Wesgro, the Enthoven family, the Oppenheimer family, Newmark Hotels, &Beyond, Airlink, Bill Harrop Balloon Safaris, Cape Extreme, New Frontiers, Rhino Africa, More Family Collection, Singita, Travel Smart Crew, The Mantis Collection, Tintswalo, Sense of Africa – Go Africa Vacations, The Safari Guys, The Royal Portfolio, Extraordinary, Rocket Films, Monkey Films, Moonlighting, The Last Word, Ellerman House and Garonga.
SATSA will host a webinar on August 11 at 13h00 SAST, to update stakeholders on the first two phases and what has been achieved, as well as the work being done in phase 3. Delegates can register to attend here.