Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

Omicron Variant: South African Film Production Sector Suffers 620 MN Rand Loss After UK Travel Ban

South African film producers have said that they lost over 620 million rands in work from the UK after Britain imposed travel ban on South Africa over Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Advertising and production companies in UK face losses due to travel ban Instagram

The Commercial Producers Association of South Africa (CPASA), an association of companies that specialise in the production of television commercials for domestic and international markets, said the UK decision has a crippling effect on the industry, with devastating broader socio-economic side-effects.

In a letter to the British High Commissioner on Monday, the CPASA urged UK to reconsider the travel ban, which it called “an injustice”.

“Advertising agencies and production companies in the UK constitute the majority of our client-base...We have painstakingly built relationships and a reputation as one of the world’s premier film production destinations, and therefore, rely heavily on the free flow of travel between South Africa and the UK,” CPASA Executive Officer Bobby Amm wrote in the letter, shared with media.

Amm said members have reported dozens of cancellations of confirmed commercials by British clients and those from other countries who followed the UK’s example of banning travel to South Africa.

In a recent survey of some of its 60 members, CPASA found that 122 confirmed projects worth R 420 million have been cancelled due to the recently imposed travel bans. A further 162 projects under quote, worth an estimated R 620 million, were also lost, the letter noted.

 “For every rand spent on production, an additional R 2.75 is spent in the local economy. There are hundreds of small South African businesses that rely on our sector for their survival. The industry also routinely contracts thousands of freelance crew, models, and actors who have no access to formal Covid-19 relief funds (from government),” Amm said.

He asserted that the lifting of the travel ban could rescue some of the work.

The association also implored the UK government to “base decisions such as these purely on scientific evidence, with full appreciation of the negative economic impacts that will inevitably result” in future cases.

CPASA also urged the UK government to consider contributing funds or other equitable remedies to support the most adversely affected sectors in the country that were the subjects of these travel bans.

"It is our view that these actions would lead to fairer outcomes and are necessary conditions to repair the long-standing relationship of trust in the business sectors of these two countries (South Africa and the UK),” Amm said.

[With Inputs From PTI.]