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
Itâ€™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:
â€śOur 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 emptyâ€ť.
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, itâ€™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 â€ścountries subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 certificateâ€ť.
Relief for the tourism industry
He added that by â€śutilising rapid tests and strict monitoring, [the governement] intends to limit the spread of the infection by those who would be travelling to South Africaâ€ť.
â€śWe 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 planâ€ť.
He assured South Africans that the team will be pursuing a few priorities with the highest impact and â€śensuring that they deliver on theseâ€ť. The news will come as a relief to embattled airlines and hospitality businesses.
Following the presidentâ€™s address, Tourism Business Council of SA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said those in the industry â€śare quite excited to start working againâ€ť.
He reiterated that the tourism industry contributes â€śaround R120 billion into the South African economy and â€śitâ€™s important that we give certainty to this marketâ€ť.
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. Itâ€™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.
|Following the Presidentâ€™s announcement that the country has moved to Alert Level 1, we have decided that more services will be resumed tomorrow, Thursday, 04 March 2021. The Citizenship service remains temporarily unavailable.... Read more...|
|A Rwandan asylum seeker told GroundUp she has been to the Western Cape Metro North Education District, but officials refused to help her enrol her child without a study permit.... Read more...|
|JOHANNESBURG - The Public Protector said the Home Affairs minister must consider amending naturalisation regulations to ensure compliance and effective administration of the law. This formed part of the remedial action set down in a report, which made adverse findings against former minister Malusi Gigaba regarding the naturalisation of the Guptas, albeit that it cleared him of abusing his power.... Read more...|
|In a satisfying victory for our Pro Bono & Human Rights Practice, on Wednesday 25 November, the Supreme Court of Appeal (the SCA) resoundingly dismissed the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) appeal against the judgment of the Gauteng High Court in the matter of the Minister of Home Affairs and Others v Jose and Another (169/2020  ZASCA 152 (25 November 2020). The High Court had found in the brothersâ€™ favour and ordered the Minister to grant them citizenship within 10 days of its order.... Read more...|
|Home to both lively landscapes and a highly diverse and fascinating culture, South Africa stands out as a place of opportunity for many potential retirees. Bask in a glowing sun while out on the golf course or relax in the shade on a beach. If you are a foodie or oenophile, you can enjoy this countryâ€™s culinary treats and excellent wines. Between all the things to do and see, this southernmost African nation, where English is widely spoken, can sound like a dream. So, if youâ€™re considering how to retire in South Africa here are a few areas to look into first. A financial advisor can help you determine if your U.S.-based assets will cover expenses in the Rainbow Nation. Cost of Living and Housing... Read more...|
|â€˘ After being closed for more than a month, SA`s twenty biggest land border posts will reopen on Monday. â€˘ New rules have been implemented to prevent the `super-spreader` congestion at these posts. Twenty South African land borders that have been closed for more a month, will re-open on Monday. On Saturday, cabinet gave the go-ahead for the reopening for these border posts:... Read more...|
|South Africa`s critical skills list includes a long list of engineering jobs. Government has compiled a new proposed list of critical skills, which should make it easier for some overseas workers to get visas to work and live in South Africa.... Read more...|
|Edwin Okey Chikata Ijeoma, a professor of public sector economics at the University of Fort Hare, had his citizenship revoked by the ministry of home affairs after he fraudulently relied on a bigamous marriage to a South African woman to obtain naturalisation and citizenship.... Read more...|
|Three weeks ago, in a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, I announced my intention to set up a task team to review some permits that were issued by the Department over the years. I identified the need to review the permits after realising a trend emerging from the outcomes of cases involving prominent people investigated by the Departmentâ€™s Counter Corruption Unit, which investigates wrongdoing by departmental officials.... Read more...|
|Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has appointed a team of experts to review several categories of permits and visas issued since May 2004, when the Immigration Act came into force, until December 2020 to determine if they were granted regularly.... Read more...|