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TTourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has welcomed the UK decision to relax travel limitations by taking South Africa off its red list of country destinations with effect from Monday 11 October.
The announcement by the UK government follows multi-stakeholder engagements between the two countries to have the UK review its decision and shortly after Minister Sisulu’s engagement with the Acting UK High Commissioner and support for the meeting between the UK and South African government scientists, which data and expertise shared culminated in the UK’s latest review.
The tourism industry directly employs 657,000 people, 87% of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. South Africa remains open for international travel, with ease of air travel connectivity to all our major cities and the rest of the Southern African region.
Last Thursday Minister Sisulu held the first of many engagements with Tourism Stakeholders to hear how the Department lead can help the industry to get back on back on track and encouraged all in the tourism sector to vaccinate. South Africa moved to adjusted alert level 1 which reduced the hours of curfew, increased the numbers permitted at gatherings and extended hours when alcohol can be purchased.
The Department of Health brought the Electronic Vaccination System online on 5 October and the digital vaccine certificate can be used to facilitate travel, access to establishments and gatherings and other forms of activity that require proof of vaccination status.
“We are delighted to see the UK restrictions on travel to South Africa lifted, following a successful vaccine rollout in South Africa, and continued decline in new COVID-19 cases. We look forward to welcoming our British visitors in time for the South African summer season and we will continue to work tirelessly with all our national and international partners to ensure the success of South Africa’s tourism recovery, ” says Sisulu.
The UK is an important market for South Africa
Tourism is one of South Africa’s key contributors to the country’s economy and government is committed to the tourism sector recovery post the Covid19 pandemic. The United Kingdom plays an important role towards the country’s economic recovery as the biggest source market for tourism arrivals into South Africa. In 2019 the destination welcomed 466,841 British travellers, which was a 1.4% increase when compared to the previous year.
Consideration for South Africa remains stable
A consumer study conducted by South African Tourism and YouGov in March 2021 showed that the British public’s intent to travel to the destination remained stable despite a turbulent year. South Africa offers travellers wide open spaces and outdoor natural landscapes, something which the country has an abundance of – from the desert plains of the Kalahari, the green vineyards of the Western Cape, the striking Drakensberg in Kwazulu-Natal, and the wild and rugged coastline of the Eastern Cape.
With trends showing that the post-COVID traveller is looking to take more meaningful, responsible trips in the future, 2021 & 2022 will see travellers choosing to make a positive impact in the way they travel.
“Travellers to South Africa can be assured that their travel to our destination will not only be unforgettable as they come to enjoy authentic and immersive experiences of our country but positively benefit local communities. This, coupled with our responsible tourism standards, and conservation efforts and protecting our natural landscapes, makes South Africa a perfect destination for the British intrepid traveller,” adds Minister Sisulu.
Enquiries: Steve Motale, Ministry Spokesperson on 083 784 0719
MLO Mpumzi Zuzile on 0725509019
Issued by the Ministry of Tourism
Sunnyside, Pretoria, 0001