International travellers can now visit SA – on these conditions

President Ramaphosa on Wednesday confirmed that international travel restrictions will be lifted. Here’s what we know.
We had our “My Fellow South Africans” talk again this evening; President Ramaphosa updated the country about the sale of alcohol, lockdown regulations and international travel.
Everyone in the tourism industry, and most people in general, had been wondering when international travel would resume, especially as we are nearing the festive season.
International travel amid COVID-19
Tourism industry took a blow
It’s a critical time for the tourism industry. We reported earlier this month that low loads in November resulted to flight cancellations. Most airlines are struggling to fill their flights, especially international flights.
This, in turn, results in airlines having to cancel flights or combine flights in order to make flying those routes economically viable. At the time, EgyptAir regional general manager, Hossam Zaky, explained:
“Our load factor is very low in November and does not exceed 18% and 28% for our flights on November 12 and 13. December [is usually] a high season for South Africa. Despite this, our flights during this month are still almost empty”.
International travel resumes
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the economic recovery has to occur across all sectors. He explained that level one regulations will be amended to restore normal trading hours.
He also confirms that we will finally see a lift on the international travel ban. Therefore, it’s now more important than ever for travellers to follow safety protocols to limit the spread of the disease.
Ramaphosa said that international travel will be open to all “countries subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 certificate”.
Relief for the tourism industry
He added that by “utilising rapid tests and strict monitoring, [the governement] intends to limit the spread of the infection by those who would be travelling to South Africa”.
“We expect that the measures we are going to take will greatly assist businesses; particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors. We are focusing relentlessly on the implementation of our plan”.
He assured South Africans that the team will be pursuing a few priorities with the highest impact and “ensuring that they deliver on these”. The news will come as a relief to embattled airlines and hospitality businesses.
Following the president’s address, Tourism Business Council of SA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said those in the industry “are quite excited to start working again”.
He reiterated that the tourism industry contributes “around R120 billion into the South African economy and “it’s important that we give certainty to this market”.
COVID-19 safety protocols
International travel will still be subject to strict health protocols. Travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test from no less than 72 hours before departing their country of origin.
One concern will be depending on the country, test results would have varying waiting times. It’s unclear how travellers who were tested days before receiving their results would be admitted into the country.
The revised travel restrictions do however make provision for mandatory quarantine for certain travellers. This will be at their own cost when entering the country.
While the change to the restrictions on international travel will be welcomed, trends around the world still show that travellers are still very reluctant to travel.
The immediate benefit will be for business travel with the lifting of restrictions allowing businesses to once again connect with their clients and subsidiaries around the globe where necessary.
www.samigration.com

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