The South African tourism industry breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday, when president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be opening its borders to travelers from all countries (including the United States) starting Nov. 12.
International travel will still be subject to strict health protocols. Travelers must present a negative Covid-19 test dating no less than 72 hours before departing their country of origin. Failure to do so, will result in the traveler having to quarantine upon arrival at their own cost.
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David Frost, CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa), said the announcement delivered the certainty international guests and customers have been actively seeking since South Africa introduced Level 1.
"Satsa welcomes the president's announcement and looks forward to promoting destination South Africa as the ultimate destination for travelers seeking the open-air, fair-weather, low-density tourism which a Covid world demands," Frost said. "To this extent, South Africa's tourism sector has instituted stringent health and hygiene safety protocols, and we are travel ready to welcome guests safely and in comfort."
Clubs and restaurants are open again, though smaller crowds are mandated. And a greater interest in outdoor activities is notable.
Jeremy Clayton, Cape Board chairperson of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa, the national trade association for the hospitality industry in South Africa, said: "We are pleased that government are following the recommendation of industry partners and enabling an industry that can rapidly grow and provide jobs. By applying common sense protocols we can ensure [South Africa] is positioned as a leading global SAFE destination that offers an abundance of tourism opportunities, world-class service and experience."
Otto de Vries, CEO of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents, said the move provides a real opportunity for people to make confident choices to travel to South Africa. "This will make a huge difference to ensuring South Africa's recovery as a primary long-haul destination on the African continent," he said.