South African film producers claim they have lost approximately US$38.5 million in work after the UK implemented a travel ban on South Africa due to the Omicron strain of the coronavirus.
The Commercial Producers Association of South Africa (CPASA), an association of companies that specialise in producing television commercials for domestic and international markets, said the UK’s decision had crippled the industry with devastating socio-economic repercussions.
The CPASA requested the UK reconsider the travel ban, which it called “an injustice,” in a letter to the British High Commissioner on Monday.
“The majority of our clients are advertising agencies and production companies in the United Kingdom. CPASA Executive Officer Bobby Amm stated, “We have painstakingly built partnerships and a reputation as one of the world’s leading film production destinations, and hence rely largely on the free flow of travel between South Africa and the UK.”
Amm said members had reported dozens of confirmed commercial cancellations by British clients and those from other countries who have followed the UK’s approach and banned travel to South Africa.
According to a recent survey of some of CPASA’s 60 members, 122 confirmed projects worth $26.1 million have been cancelled due to the newly implemented travel bans. In addition, a total of 162 projects under quote, worth an estimated $38.5 million, were also cancelled, the letter noted.
The easing of the travel ban, according to Amms, could save some of the work.
However, in future cases, the group urged the UK government to “make decisions like this purely on scientific evidence, with full recognition of the negative economic repercussions that will undoubtedly occur.”
CPASA also urged the UK government to consider contributing funding or other equitable remedies to help the country’s most harmed industries, subject to these travel bans.
“These actions, in our opinion, will result in fairer outcomes and are vital prerequisites for repairing the long-standing relationship of trust in the economic sectors of these two countries (South Africa and the United Kingdom),” Amm added.