South Africa Devastated by Mass Travel Bans

Just as the travel industry was starting to recover from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, the announcement of a new Covid variant under investigation in South Africa has dealt a massive blow to the country.

Thanks to South Africa’s advanced genomic sequencing, the Omicron Covid variant was discovered in our labs, but regrettably the United Kingdom’s knee-jerk reaction to place SA back on the Red List after the announcement has caused a domino effect, with several countries following suit, which has had a disastrous effect on the tourism industry.

After the UK (South Africa’s biggest tourist source market) removed an 18-month long travel ban in September, bookings started to pour in. The local tourism industry was pinning its hopes on a busy December holiday season to revive this ailing sector which employs over 1.5 million people. There is now little hope for a good season. Instead, we look set for a repeat of last December.

What is even more concerning is the negative impact this will have on re-building traveller confidence. Most South Africans will not be able to travel freely for the foreseeable future, and for those who have an exemption, quarantine will probably be re-instated in most destinations, which is a big deterrent for travellers.

Most importantly, the long-lasting effects on South Africa as a travel destination brand is yet to be seen.

As it stands currently, travel is banned from South Africa to the following destinations:

Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Maldives, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey UAE, United Kingdom and United States.

The immediate priority is to assist travellers affected by the bans and provide peace of mind amid the chaos of cancelled flights. Our consultants are working around the clock to re-book flights. The following airlines have suspended services to South Africa: Air France, Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, Etihad Airways, Qatar, Rwanda Airlines, Singapore Airlines, TAAG, Turkish Airlines and SAA only to Mauritius.

Delta and Ethiopian Airlines flights are not affected, while Emirates is still transporting travellers into South Africa only. The following airlines are restricting carriage largely to only nationals: British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss and Virgin Atlantic.

We are hoping that the ban will be lifted soon as more clarity is provided around the Covid variant. The situation is very fluid, so we recommend that our customers use our Covid travel hub to access the most up-to-date information –