South Africa is "on the road to tourism recovery", and is ready to welcome would-be visitors keen to "seize the opportunity to visit after a difficult year".
That was the message from Kgomotso Ramothea, South African Tourism acting hub head UK and Ireland, after South African president Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed on Wednesday (16 September) the country would reopen its borders to tourists from 1 October.
The country is preparing to reduce its Covid lockdown alert level to its lowest level from Sunday (20 September) following a "significant decrease in infections".
However, the tourism authority has warned "travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that are deemed high risk". These countries will be announced in the coming days.
All international travellers will be required to present a Covid-19 free certificate dated no later than 72 hours within their date of arrival, or they will be required to quarantine on arrival.
“This is an extremely positive step in the right direction for tourism in South Africa," said Ramothea. "While there is more detail to come in the next few days, this progress sends a really positive message to the world that South Africa is on the road to tourism recovery.
"The UK is our number one international travel market – many of these are repeat visitors, who have an emotional connection to South Africa and we look forward to welcoming them back to experience our beautiful country once again, as well as first time travellers who have always had South Africa on their bucket list and who we hope will seize the opportunity to visit after a difficult year."
Ramothea added Wednesday’s confirmation that Virgin Atlantic will resume flying to the country from 18 October "demonstrated consumer confidence is returning".