South Africa Welcomes Back International Tourists In February 2021!


South Africa doesn’t plan to open its doors to international tourists before February 2021, based on the information released by the country’s parliament.

Business travel to the country is possible earlier (date unclear), while domestic tourism in South Africa would not return before December and international in February 2021.

Here’s an excerpt from the South African government:

The committees note that in level 3 of the lockdown commencing on 1 June 2020, that certain areas of business tourism will be able to operate whilst domestic travel will reopen in December. The much-anticipated international tourism will commence in February 2021. In the meantime, the Department of Tourism must continue to work closely with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that the world-class e-visa regimes continue to be developed in more countries and implemented.

The Minister informed the committees that the department will submit the Tourism Amendment Bill after the finalisation of the White Paper on Tourism, which will be at the end of this financial year.

“In the meantime, whilst the department is drafting the Tourism Recovery Plan, we are confident that the liaison that is happening with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will ensure that local economic development finds its rightful place in villages, townships and small towns, which is where poverty, inequality and unemployment are more prevalent,” said the Chair of the Portfolio Committee, Mr Supra Mahumapelo.


When I was back in Johannesburg and Cape Town this February, it never came to my mind that the country would be soon closed for international arrivals for an extended period.

Tourism is an important sector, especially in the Western Cape. Not sure how all these businesses can survive a year without any revenue?

Let’s hope that there are positive developments on the Covid-19 pandemic so that South Africa could revisit this guidance and reopen the country’s borders earlier.

This is a good reminder that it doesn’t make much sense to make any flight bookings right now because it is unclear when countries are welcoming international visitors again.

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