Dear Partners in Tourism,
Best recovery wishes and we hope this communication finds you in good health.
It has been a while since my last official newsletter – pre-COVID in fact! While we’ve been active on social media in keeping our partners updated and have done some targeted communication in certain markets, I’ve not done one of our more generic and broadly focussed newsletters in a while. With the green shoots of recovery in tourism starting to show in certain regions of the world, now might be a good time to update you on the situation in South Africa.
We understand that the option of visiting the region is mostly not in our hands as individual governments decide where their citizens can and can’t travel. In this context it would also be easy to get into a discussion about Hermit Nations, Vaccine Hoarders, Travel & Vaccine Nationalism, Revenge Travel and a variety of other topics we never thought would be top of mind 18 months ago – but our focus in this newsletter is directed to recovery of tourism for us all and giving an update on the current situation in our region.
South Africa’s borders are open to tourists from all nationalities.
- A negative PCR test is required for entry and the test can’t be older than 72 hours at time of boarding for your flight to the destination. Should you not have the required PCR test you will be denied boarding at the originating point.
- It is not a requirement to be vaccinated to visit South Africa.
- A negative PCR test is required regardless if you’re vaccinated or not.
- No quarantine required on arrival in South Africa.
These are the current requirements but naturally these can change in time as governments adjust their policies around travel in the coming months.
Most of our neighbouring countries (to which we also provide ground arrangements) are also open for international travel and have similar requirements around PCR tests although some have a shorter window period with regards to testing timelines. We’re happy to provide detailed information on request.
The broader tourism industry in South Africa has worked tirelessly towards a recovery and also created a website with the latest up-to-date information about travel to South Africa during COVID. You will find a lot of additional information on the website www.visitsouthafrica.info The FAQ section is particularly handy.
Additionally I’d like to highlight a few points about South Africa which could assist you with selling the destination to clients who wish to travel during the COVID era:
- It is a destination with wide open spaces, lots of fresh air and sunshine.
- It is easy to socially distance in the destination.
- The borders of South Africa have been open since October 2020 and domestic tourism allowed even before that. Hotels/lodges/tourism attractions are well-versed & used to operate in COVID19 environment with suitable protocols.
- The industry was pro-active in introducing safe and responsible protocols – which lead to the government allowing tourism product to operate.
- There is strict adherence to protocols at tourism product but it has been implemented in such a way to not impede the enjoyment and experience.
- The South African product naturally lends itself to a scenario where people have space and can socially distance without sacrificing any enjoyment of the experience. This is especially true when it comes to the safari product.
- It is easy to create ‘bubble’ options for tourists at certain product e.g. the ‘villa concept’ and exclusive use of smaller properties/lodges for families.
- The wearing of masks in public areas are mandatory – and widely observed. The South African public in general won’t put international tourists at risk by their behaviour.
During the period when domestic travel was allowed before borders opened, we used the opportunity to visit a number of properties. You will find some of the feedback on our visits on our website.
- Sabi Sands Lodges Feedback
- Kruger Lodges Feedback
- A small step of the beaten track
- Garden Route Feedback
I’m sure you’ll find our comments informative and handy in preparation for when travel becomes easier and the number of international tourists increase. I’ve travelled with a few agents on site-inspection trips around South Africa since the beginning of the year. The agents were impressed by the way we managed to implement travel safely yet without severely restricting the enjoyment and experience of travel. Some feedback on the trips are also included on the website.
- Off the Beaten Track Cape: Overberg, Cederberg and West Coast
- Greater Kruger & Winelands Site Feedback
While the recovery period might be initially slow and haphazard with a few stop-starts, we wish all our partners good health and continued endurance for the period that lies ahead. Travel will endure – a world without travel is a world without soul.
We look forward to meeting again – in person!