South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday 16 September that cabinet had placed the entire country on alert level 1, thus opening up international borders for selected countries from 1 October 2020. The government is expected to release the list of those countries later this week, but with a current 14-day case rate of 66.5 it is unlikely that Ireland will be included.
“We are delighted by this announcement,” said Sisa Ntshona, Chief Executive, South African Tourism. “As we prepare to open our regional and international borders on 1 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.
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. Travellers and business events delegates will be amazed as they are reminded by how much variety our country has to offer.”
He also emphasised the importance of safety measures that South Africa has put in place, including the wearing of masks, washing hands, and still maintaining social distancing. “It is important to highlight that while 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, 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.”
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