Why are there no tourists? (SA’s borders are open…) South African Tourism, Hotel and Travel Update September 2021

Barriers preventing travel and tourism

We all get mixed info on the vaccine’s efficacy and related matters, as health authorities, WHO and CDC keep changing the status of variants and dealing with each.

Regardless of the medical field we established from various sources what they thought the key hinderances are, for travel to resume

  • Returning quarantine a major barrier to both inbound and outbound travel recovery
  • The confusion around rules and regulations and constantly changing government policies – often not driven by data and science – continue to cripple the travel advisor business
  • The international travel landscape is “unwieldy and untenable.” The patchwork of regulations suppresses demand and confuses the public. Vaccinated Americans, for example, are being treated the same as the unvaccinated.
  • The refunds issue because of stringent rules
  • Industry is to work together to provide a single voice to prevail on governments to change their policies around quarantine, vaccinations and testing.
  • Disparate vaccine passport systems with no integration. Amidst the controversy over issuing of Covid-19 vaccine passports, a report has warned that lack of global standards for coronavirus certificate is a key barrier to their successful implementation around the world.
  • In the UK for example, there is no recognition of the differences among businesses. For instance, there are no restrictions on going to a hairstylist that a restaurant or hotel has. Recognition is necessary that different sectors have different needs
  • One respondent in the US noted that when Bruce Springsteen’s show reopened on Broadway, those with AstraZeneca vaccinations could not attend. Although that was changed, she said, it shows what happens with mixed messages.
  • International travel into the U.K. was illegal at the beginning of 2021 and “we’ve come a long way from that.” People are social animals one respondent said, adding, “they want to travel and will learn to live with COVID.”
  • For the most part travel will be fueled by domestic demand (mainly leisure) as government and corporate have slowed down to a dead halt
  • Everyone agreed that covid will resume until at least Q3 of 2024

But was is the current travel restriction on South Africa right now?

  • Canada said it would allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the country for non-essential purposes
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also eased travel restrictions for vaccinated South Africans
  • While South Africans arriving on tourist visas must still take a mandatory rapid PCR test at the airport, the change means that passengers will be allowed to travel to their final destination through Dubai from South Africa – subject to specific requirements.
  • Parts of Europe have also begun opening up travel for vaccinated South Africans, with Germany, France, and Spain relaxing some restrictions in recent weeks for those who have had a jab.
  • Saudi Arabia has also removed South Africa from its list of banned countries.
  • While South Africa has mostly kept its borders open to international tourists since easing its first hard lockdown in mid-2020, other countries have not reciprocated, and South Africans still face strict travel restrictions.
    1. This also impacts travelers who are dissuaded from visiting South Africa because of their difficulties returning to their own countries.
  • The only requirement for anyone travelling to SA :
    1. all travelers must present a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result that was obtained within 72 hours of departure.
    2. As long as they present this medical certificate, they will not need to quarantine upon arrival in South Africa.
    3. Travelers also need to download the COVID Alert SA app, and undergo a health screening on arrival.
  • By comparison, there are currently 31 moderate restrictions for South Africa, where travel is possible, but only if travelers meet certain entry requirements, including taking Covid-19 tests.
  • But SA is on the red list regardless of borders being open or not. Thus travel is not advised – these are:
    1. Australia: Australia’s borders are currently closed, and entry to Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Travel to Australia is only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption.
    2. China: Chinese and foreign passengers travelling from or transiting through South Africa must apply for ‘Green Health Codes’ (for Chinese citizens only) by submitting their Covid-19 negative certificates for nucleic acid tests to Chinese embassies or consulates
    3. France: Fully vaccinated travelers are no longer subject to restrictions to travel to or from France, whatever the country of departure. However, the French embassy strongly advises against travel from France to countries on the “red” list, including South Africa.
    4. Germany: From August, South Africa is no longer listed as a ‘variant of concern’ area but only as a high-risk area. The general travel ban has been lifted; however, travelers should still expect mandatory testing and quarantine requirements.
    5. Spain: South Africa is classified as ‘high risk’ by Spanish authorities. While travel is permitted, travelers should expect mandatory testing and quarantine requirements.
    6. New Zealand: Entry to New Zealand from all countries remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. South Africans are expected to go through managed isolation if they are allowed entry.
    7. UK: South Africa is on the red list for entering England. If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National or have residence rights in the UK.
    8. USA: Only people that qualify for the NIE visa exception are allowed entry into the US. The US also requires all air passengers entering the country to present a negative Covid-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days​. Airlines must confirm the negative test result or proof of recovery for all passengers two years of age and over before boarding.

End of report

Adapted from www.businesstech.co.za and others