Tourism: high-risk markets cut to 22

Desperate to revive its key tourism industry, South Africa has cut the number of high-risk countries by almost two thirds from 60 to 22 as the country attempts to woo visitors in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the updated list issued by the Department of Home Affairs still blacklists visitors from some of South Africa’s key source markets, notably the United Kingdom, United States, France, Belgium and Spain as well as its BRICS partners of Russia, Brazil and India.

The addition of Germany, another important source market, to the list followed reports that the nation was assailed by a second wave of infection.

In terms of entry regulations to South Africa, the only visitors from so-called high risk countries allowed through its borders are business travellers, holders of critical skills visas, investors and people on international missions in sports, arts, culture and science. 

According to Statistics South Africa, foreign arrivals in July plunged 94.4% compared with last year. Of the paltry 484 overseas visitors, about half hailed from Europe to underline the importance of the region as a source destination.

However, the prognosis for better times is looking up as more visitors are passing through the borders since international travel resumed at the beginning of October. 

While an updated  breakdown of the reason for travellers visiting South Africa was not available, the Department of Home Affairs said on average, “335 investors a day applied to visit the Republic”.

The department also said it would allow visitors who intended to stay in South Africa for three months or more, conditional on compliance with Covid-19 protocols. This includes a negative coronavirus test not older than 72 hours.

The latest list of high risk countries is:

  • Argentina                                   
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium    
  • Brazil       
  • Canada     
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Italy           
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • USA
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