Two days after Cyril Ramaphosa announced international travel would be returning during Level 1 of lockdown, it has been confirmed that the National Coronavirus Command Council will outline the extensive rules and regulations concerning the reopening of South Africa’s borders on Friday. However, the Western Cape remains on high alert.
Countries on the restricted international travel list: Possible criteria and exemptions
Two senior figures in the provincial government have made their demands for international travel public. What is more, we are starting to get a clearer picture of which nations will be monitored closely. The countries that could find themselves on ‘the restricted list’ – preventing any mutual travel plans with SA – is starting to take shape behind closed doors.
- Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has told Cabinet to publish whatever data is used to ‘restrict visitors’ from certain countries.
- WC Finance Minister David Maynier says his department will ‘carefully scrutinise’ strategic nations and their infection rates.
- Maynier has identified the UK, France, and Germany as the Western Cape’s ‘key source markets’.
- A report from earlier this week suggested that the USA, the UK, France, and Spain will be hit with travel restrictions to SA.
Level 1: When will international travel return to South Africa?
Premier Winde has stated that there are likely to be ‘three key dates’ which facilitate the return of international travel:
“We need to know what data will be used to determine this list and how regularly it will be updated. What the tourism sector needs most now is consistency and certainty. Passengers wanting to book holidays to South Africa must be able to do so with the confidence that their flight will not be cancelled at short notice.”
“Most airlines that were previously active in our market have Cape Town in their schedules for the IATA Winter (our Summer) which begins on 24 October. We anticipate a gradual return, with some flights resuming on 1 October, others on 24 October, and others planning to resume in December to allow time for bookings.”
Key markets identified by the Western Cape
Meanwhile, Minister Maynier has stated that his department will be pushing for more information on cruise ships permissions:
“We’ll assess the impact of restrictions on international travel, and how this will affect our key source markets in the UK, Germany, and France. We’ll carefully scrutinise how regulations will adjust as infection rates around the world increase or decrease, because the most important thing we can do is provide consistency and certainty during these tough times.”
“In addition, we also need clarity on passenger cruise ships for leisure, which are also important to the tourism and hospitality industry in the Western Cape. We will work to open these businesses safely at the appropriate time.”
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