There’s never been a better time to explore the beautiful country we call home.
Or, put another way, South Africans are likely going to have a tricky time travelling abroad for quite a while yet.
As things stand, many European Union governments have proposed allowing quarantine-free travel between countries, provided tourists and visitors are vaccinated.
That proposal could soon be finalised, reports BusinessTech, with other measures likely for unvaccinated travellers:
[They] will also be able to avoid quarantine if they come from countries that have controlled the Covid-19 outbreak, meaning a 14-day new-case rate of less than 75 per 100,000, according to two officials familiar with the decision.
On that front alone, South Africa would qualify for the so-called “white list” (at least based on stats for the past seven days, as of yesterday), but that is unlikely to happen.
Once everybody across the world started talking about ‘the South African variant’, otherwise known as 501Y.V2, or the variant first identified in South Africa, the damage was done.
A number of non-EU travel destinations, including the UK and US, have restricted non-essential travel from South Africa for similar reasons, citing concerns around variants.
Flight comparison website Skyscanner has a tool, accurate as of yesterday, which shows which countries have imposed restrictions on those travelling from South Africa.
In the map below, orange shows moderate restrictions, red shows major restrictions, and grey shows unknown restrictions:
You can tinker and scroll around that map here.
92 countries (orange) have moderate restrictions in place, which means travel is possible if you meet certain entry regulations, and quarantine upon arrival and/or return may be necessary.
62 countries (red) have major restrictions in place, which means travel may be suspended, or entry only possible if you are a citizen and/or meet strict requirements.
Speaking to IOL, FEDHASA (Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa) national chairperson Rosemary Anderson stressed how vital it is that the country’s vaccine targets are met:
“As South Africa is rolling out the second phase of the government’s vaccine programme, it is imperative that our country not only adheres to the dates and numbers of vaccinations but that it exceeds expectations. We need to try and catch up to other major international markets.
“South Africa needs to get in line with governments globally and accelerate the rollout of the vaccine programme to open not only our inbound but also our outbound travel opportunities.”
As long as we remain a ‘risky’ travel destination, with stringent restrictions in place, our economy suffers greatly, and those within the tourism and hospitality industry may never fully recover.
A reminder that with vaccines in South Africa working on a ‘first-come-first-serve’ basis (within the parameters of Phase 2), registering as soon as possible is prudent.
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