After months on the UK’s ‘red list’ and endless protests and lobbying by the South African tourism industry, South Africa will finally be removed from the highly restrictive list from Monday, October 11.
The incredible news has been met with a surge in UK bookings to South Africa as people in Britain scramble to secure their tickets for a blissful summer in SA, reports IOL.
Seats have been selling like hotcakes, with Virgin Atlantic reporting that its “economy classic” was going for around R57 000 for an adult round-trip ticket from London to Johannesburg. Likewise, British Airways is currently charging around R25 000 for a similar ticket, reports Business Insider.
The ‘red list’ saw strenuous rules and quarantine periods for those wishing to return to the UK from countries such as South Africa, Argentina and Mexico – all of which have now been removed. However, the change in status will now see South Africans able to travel to the European nation without the mandatory quarantine, but will cost approximately R45 000 per person.
Gorgeous beaches, warm weather and majestic landscapes teeming with wildlife make South Africa the prime destination for those looking to escape the wintery months that the Northern Hemisphere is famous for. However, the sharp upsurge in interest and prices for travel to South Africa indicates just how important the UK is to South Africa’s tourism with the economy losing around R790 million for every month that we’ve been on the ‘red list’. A slow vaccination rollout plan has been listed as one of the reasons for SA remaining on the infamous list, however, many believed that there was no reasonable basis for the country to remain on this list well after vaccination drives were in full swing.
Despite the irony of UK citizens flocking to cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg to enjoy the summer while we have spent months on the red list, the removal couldn’t have come at a better time says Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier.
”In 2019, approximately 194,900 UK tourists visited the Western Cape, spending on average R24,200 per tourist. The decision couldn’t have come at a better time allowing long-separated friends and families to reunite and the many tourists who regularly visit the Western Cape to enjoy our affordable and unique attractions over the summer season,” Maynier explained.