British Airways has increased the number of seats it offers on flights between South Africa and the UK, as more and more people wish to travel again.
There is good news on the horizon for South Africa’s tourism sector which has struggled to stay afloat for the past two years due to reduced tourist numbers from important tourism source countries that banned travel to our country.
TOP SA TOURISM SOURCE MARKET
The United Kingdom (UK) twice imposed severe travel and flight bans on South Africa, having a significant impact on the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors. Flight and travel bans imposed against South Africa and neighbouring states in the region over the last two years have decimated the region’s once-thriving tourism sector.
In 2019, South Africa welcomed more than 400 000 travellers from the United Kingdom, making it South Africa’s top tourism source country.
The two years which followed saw a drastic drop in tourism numbers from the UK. This due to measures imposed by the UK to limit the importation of coronavirus strains from abroad.
MEASURES TO LIMIT IMPORTING COVID
The UK used a colour-coded traffic light scheme to determine the risk posed to the United Kingdom by allowing entry to travellers arriving from other parts of the world. Countries located in southern Africa remained red-listed for the entire existence of the scheme.
In early 2021, the UK implemented self-funded hotel quarantine requirements for passengers arriving from red-listed destinations as a measure to deter arrivals from destinations it deemed risky.
Together with flight bans and travel restrictions, visiting South Africa became onerous and unattractive to most travellers from the United Kingdom.
UK EASES ENTRY RESTRICTIONS
The United Kingdom scrapped its contentious red list in December last year, replacing the scheme with enhanced passenger testing requirements which are taken after arriving in the UK. This signalled the turning of the tide for travel to and from countries in southern Africa, which were previously off-limits.
Simpleflying reports that British Airways has increased the number of seats it offers between South Africa and the UK, as a result of increased passenger demand from travellers.
The airline operates two flights a day to Cape Town and a daily flight into Johannesburg. Johannesburg flights are operated with the Airbus A 380, which carries a large number of passengers per flight.
FURTHER EASING EXPECTED FROM UK
Like neighbouring Ireland has done, the United Kingdom has also indicated that it is considering dropping COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated travellers arriving on its shores.
This would certainly help to open up destinations that are eager to host UK tourists, as the move would make seamless travels possible for United Kingdom travellers who are vaccinated.
Inews reports that an announcement concerning this is expected on 26 January.
By: Lorne Philpot