Travel restrictions

South Africa removes all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions

The South African government took the decision on Wednesday evening to remove all of the country’s remaining pandemic-era restrictions, after the Presidential Coordinating Council and Cabinet determined they had served their purpose and did not were no longer needed.

For travellers, the main change is the removal of vaccination and testing requirements for entry into South Africa, but other revisions include the lifting of national indoor mask mandates and limits on the size of gatherings, and the elimination of COVID-19 border controls.

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“Today is a very historic day as we have reached a turning point since the outbreak of Covid-19 around the world and in the country,” Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said in a statement today. official statement. Its repeal of the last three COVID-era regulations marks the end of a 26-month period defined by the state’s handling of the global pandemic.

Welcoming the news on behalf of South African Tourism, the National Tourism Agency’s Acting CEO, Themba Khumalo, said, “It’s time to step into a brave new world.” In its reaction statement, the destination marketing organization called the move “a step in the right direction” and predicted that it would “significantly benefit the entire value chain of the tourism industry”. .

“As guardians of tourism, we believe that ending restrictions is the tonic the sector needs to accelerate the rebound to pre-pandemic tourist arrival numbers and profitability levels,” South said. African Tourism in a statement.

Two years before the start of the pandemic, the travel and tourism sector generated 1.5 million jobs and contributed 425.8 billion rand ($26.62 billion) to the national economy, or 8.6 % of the country’s total economic activity. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2018 Annual Review, this has made South Africa the largest tourism economy on the entire African continent.


Cape Town and the 12 Apostles from above in South Africa (photo via Ben1183/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Cape Town and the 12 Apostles from above in South Africa. (photo via Ben1183/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

According to the country’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan, tourism has already been identified as a critical factor when it comes to reviving the national economy. The abolition of these final restrictions gives the green light to South African tourism to “go full throttle” in the implementation of measures aimed at regaining the lost ground of the sector.

It also means that the constraints imposed on live social events, business meetings, conferences, trade shows and exhibitions over the past two plus years will finally be a thing of the past, making way for the return of delegates, exhibitors and business travelers from around the world. around the world, helping to revive activity in a variety of other industries.

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