After several months of closed borders, the UK has cut finally 47 destinations from its red list for travel – including South Africa.
In a statement on Thursday evening, the 7th of October 2021, the UK’s transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the change will officially take effect from Monday, 11 October.
“I’m also making changes so travellers visiting England have fewer entry requirements, by recognising those with fully-vax status from 37 new countries and territories including India, Turkey and Ghana, treating them the same as UK fully vaxxed passengers,” he said. “The measures announced today mark the next step as we continue to open up travel and provide stability for passengers and industry while remaining on track to keep travel open for good.”
The removal of South Africa from the UK’s tourism red list means that travellers will no longer face an expensive stay in a quarantined hotel with a charge of up to £2,295 (R46,658) on arrival in England.
It is also expected to bring a significant boost to South Africa’s tourism industry which has been devastated by the pandemic since March 2020.
Virgin Atlantic told the Evening Standard it has already seen a surge in bookings, with a particular interest in flights around Christmas and the festive season.
“In advance of the red list review today, we have seen our bookings to South Africa increase by 150% over the past four days, compared to the four days prior,” a spokeswoman said.
“The majority of bookings are for passengers originating from the UK however we are also seeing an increase in passengers originating from South Africa as well. The new bookings are for travel in November and December this year in particular around the Christmas period.”