South Africa reopens to international tourists
The South African tourism sector is celebrating the relaxing of travel restrictions into the country. These changes should revive the tourist industry and provide relief to millions of people whose livelihoods depend on international visitors.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the changes in a statement last week. He said that the amended regulations will bring about a new phase in the way the country responds to the pandemic.
This reflects the steady decline in Covid-19 cases and the growing number of vaccinations. According to medical experts 60-80% of the South African population is now immune from the virus.
What travellers need to know
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers arriving in the country do not need to quarantine for any length of time. Vaccinated travellers need to have received their last dose at least 14 days before arrival. There are no vaccine or testing requirements for children under the age of five.
Unvaccinated travellers will need to have a negative PCR test to enter the country. This test must be taken less than 72 hours before arrival. These travellers will be offered a first dose of the vaccine in the airport, should they wish to take it.
Travellers will need to fill in a health questionnaire before departure and will be screened for symptoms on arrival. They will also need to download the Covid Alert app just like they’d do to play bingo Peru games. However, this app provides authorities with the ability to trace tourist while they are in the country.
Restrictions once you arrive
One of the most significant changes is that facemasks will no longer be required in public outdoor spaces. Although it will still be necessary to wear a mask whenever you are in an indoor public building.
The previous limits on gatherings have been amended to allow both indoor and outdoor venues to operate at 50% of their capacity. This will allow people to return to sports stadiums, theatres, and music festivals.
These events can freely take place provided that the venue has a system for ensuring that guests have proof of vaccine or a negative PCR test. In situations where this is not possible there will still be a limit of a 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors.
Upcoming tourism trade show
The South African Tourism CEO, Themba Khumalo, welcomed the changes as a positive step towards the recovery of international tourism. She took the opportunity to announce that South Africa’s largest travel and tourism marketing event will again be happening this year after a two-year hiatus. This tourism trade show is known as Africa’s Travel Indaba and will take place in the first week of May 2022.
The easing of restrictions should see an increase in the number of inbound flights to South Africa. Both Emirates and Etihad Airways have resumed a schedule of regular flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Prior to the pandemic South Africa was well renowned as a top destination for international travellers. By reducing the requirements for tourists to enter the country the government is hoping to revive this vital industry.