UK COVID ban costs SA billions

The UK travel ban has cost the SA tourism industry a fortune. Image: Pexel

Lindiwe Sisulu welcomes UAE’s decision to resume flights to South Africa

Flights between the United Arab Emirates began operating on Saturday, 29 January 2022 – after being halted for two months

UK COVID ban costs SA billions

The UK travel ban has cost the SA tourism industry a fortune. Image: Pexel

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is pleased with the United Arab Emirates’ move to lift travel restrictions on South Africa, saying it paves the way for the sector’s revival.

It was in November that the UAE joined dozens of countries in imposing tight travel restrictions on South Africa, after the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected by local scientists on home soil. The UAE’s announcement also spells good news for other African countries – including Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Uganda, and Angola, who were also slapped with travel restrictions.

Flights between UAE and South Africa started operating on Saturday, 29 January.

Sisulu had held a number of meetings with the UAE government, including the royal family, selling South Africa as a safe country for all to visit.

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Lindiwe Sisulu has expressed her gratitude to stakeholders in the tourism sector for playing their part in eventually seeing the UAE lift its travel ban on South Africa.

“This is the culmination of the hard work and dedication of all tourism stakeholders. The war room that has been established has started to yield results and today we see the UAE opening their doors to our travelers. Let us continue to work hand in hand to revive our industry,” Sisulu says in a statement.

According to the minister’s office, the UAE is one of South Africa’s top bilateral trade partners in the Middle East, with total exports worth more than R25 billion in 2018.

“As countries begin to relax barriers of entry to and from South Africa, we expect to see increased resumption of travel which in turn will speed up the recovery of the industry”

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu

The lifting of the UAE’s travel ban on South Africa means its back to business for Emirates, the official airline for the country.

Flights between Dubai and South Africa will operate as a daily flight to and from Johannesburg, effective 29 January and double daily services from 1 February. Flights to and from Cape Town and Durban will operate daily from 1 February, the airline has said.