South Africa is open and ready to welcome travellers from across the world! South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 16 September that cabinet has decided to place the entire country on alert level 1, thus opening up international borders for selected countries from 1 October 2020.
“We are delighted by this announcement. As we prepare to open our regional and international borders on the 1st of October, we know many travellers have been eager to travel to South Africa to enjoy the wide variety of our leisure activities and to host their business events. We are thrilled that we can finally welcome them back again,” says South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona.
“As South African Tourism, we have always said that the gradual reopening of the tourism sector and tourism-related services is in accordance with South Africa’s Risk-Adjusted Strategy and is driven by the pandemic’s trajectory, and not set dates.
“Our numbers are on a gradual decline, which makes this the perfect time to start reopening our borders. I would like to thank all partners from here in South Africa and across the world for their unyielding support and continued patience. We look forward to engaging them once again as we work together to package South Africa for various tourists’ needs,” says Ntshona.
Ntshona says that as travellers and business events delegates gear up to meet South Africa again, they will be amazed as they are reminded by how much variety our country has to offer. He further expressed his excitement at the fact that we will finally get to share all that South Africa has to offer with many visitors from various parts of the world.
Whilst elated about the further easing of restrictions, Ntshona emphasised the importance of safety measures that South Africa has put in place including wearing of masks, washing hands and still maintaining social distancing.
“It is important to highlight that whilst we are happy with the further opening of our tourism sector, we recognise and acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. Our industry has put in place globally-benchmarked health and safety protocols to ensure that all travellers and tourism sector employees are safe. We take everyone’s safety very seriously. Therefore, we plead with all travellers, both domestic and international, to get used to travelling within the COVID-19 environment, exercising patience as we have new protocols that we must observe and practise,” he adds.
Details on the opening of international borders will be provided by the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane soon.
“We are also encouraged by the increase in domestic travel since interprovincial travel was permitted last month. We are convinced that as the summer season is upon us, more and more South Africans will continue to go out and explore. We know that South Africans are looking forward to also sharing their country with visitors from other parts of our continent and the rest of the world.
“We look forward to sharing our lush-green landscapes, sloping hills, sun soaked coasts, star studded skies, wildlife safaris like no other, vibrant cultures, adventures and wide open spaces,” concludes Ntshona.
South Africa first went into lockdown at midnight on 26 March this year when President Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster and with that halted all international and business travel.
The country has since gradually eased its restrictions starting with domestic travel and now with regional and international borders due to open on 1 October.