South Africa Welcomes Back Many International Tourists From October 1, 2020

In a surprise move South Africa’s government has announced that the country will open up to tourism again as per October 1, 2020 despite voices earlier in spring that it would take at least until 2021.

South Africa is just one of the countries that is suffering from the loss of all tourism revenue which is usually a substantial part of it’s GDP and there is lots of pressure to start opening the country up again.

Some countries have already made their moves, the Maldives started to open very early on and even Thailand presented their own proposal this week – not it’s South Africa’s term.

Business Insider South Africa wrote about the pillars of this plan as soon as it was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa this morning.

South Africans will be able to go on holidays abroad and inbound tourists will be welcome again from 1 October, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday night.

South African missions abroad will be opening for visa applications, he said.
“We are ready to open our doors again to the world and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities, and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence.”

But there will be some caveats.

Only three airports will be open to foreign travellers: Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Cape Town International, and King Shaka outside Durban. Overland travellers will be restricted to one of the few border posts that remained open during lockdown.

Travel to and from some countries may be restricted, Ramaphosa said, “based on the latest scientific data we can get on those countries”. He did not provide details of the metrics South Africa may use for such red-listing.

Travellers will have to present, on arrival, the result of a negative coronavirus test less than 72 hours old. If they can not do so, they “will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost”.

Everyone arriving will be screened, and those who show any symptoms of Covid-19 will also be required to stay in quarantine until they test negative for the virus again.

Travellers “will be asked” to install the South African government contact alert app, Ramaphosa said.

The methods used to determine “red zones” or lists of those required to quarantine, vary from country to country.

The United Kingdom and Germany, for example, use a variety of factors to determine a country’s status – but primarily looks at the infection rate over the previous seven days, to arrive at an estimation of active cases. …

The exact details are very vague at this point. Only that the government would still exclude some “hot” countries from the list of accepted tourists.

The Presidential Twitter account also released a graphic:

Not much more than the Business Insider article though. I guess we have to wait another week or so to see what the exact plans are and who will be eligible to visit.


The influx of revenue from foreign tourists is important to South Africa which is a very popular destination for tourists from around the world but especially from Europe.

No matter how the list will look like, potential visitors will also take into account how the Covid-19 situation is in South Africa itself. Their overall count is still relatively high and if traveling to the country is a someone one wants to take on I guess that’s a personal decision.

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