australia travel ban

Lockdown restrictions do not impact travellers. Image: Adobe Stock

US travel advisory a blow to South African tourism sector

The latest travel advisory issued by the United States has severe implications for the embattled tourism sector in South Africa.

australia travel ban

Lockdown restrictions do not impact travellers. Image: Adobe Stock

The US State Department has recently updated its travel advice for various countries, awarding South Africa Level 4 status. Countries awarded Level 4 status are deemed “no go zones” by the United States government. The notice published on Tuesday 20 April thus warns US citizens against travel to South Africa.

“The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for South Africa due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country,” the advisory said.


South Africa’s beleaguered tourism and hospitality sectors are heavily reliant on international visitors for their revenues. Prior to the onset of the global pandemic, the United States of America had consistently been one of South Africa’s top tourism source markets, alongside the United Kingdom and Germany. 

The United States’ latest advisory against travel to South Africa does not bode well for local tourism and hospitality businesses that battled through the national lockdown with severely reduced customer volumes.    

The recent advisory issued by the US State Department, against travel to South Africa, is not good news for hotels and tourism companies who have been eagerly awaiting the return of foreign visitors to our shores.     


A number of hotels and tourism businesses in South Africa have been forced to keep their doors closed for over a year while others have closed for good due to the inability to trade aid the global slump in demand for tourism.  News 24 reports that South Africa’s hospitality sector has suffered due to drastic declines in overseas visitor numbers.

“The number of foreign overnight visitors plunged by a further 88.7% year on year in February,  indicating the devastating effects the pandemic continues to have on the local tourism industry,” Investec economist Lara Hodes said.


Hotel properties and tourism businesses across the country suspended operations at the onset of South Africa’s national lockdown last year. Many have still not reopened due to border closures and travel bans which discourage international tourists from visiting South Africa.   

With continued travel bans and advisories against travelling to South Africa, the future for the local tourism and hospitality sectors does not look good.  

“The threat of new more virulent strains of the virus and a lengthy vaccine rollout remain the key risks to the recovery of this essential economic sector,” said Hodes.

It is likely that South Africa’s fragile tourism and hospitality sectors could see even more business failures and bankruptcies in the months ahead as a result of the constrained market conditions caused by ongoing travel bans and travel advisories imposed by governments in countries including the USA and UK.    

READ: ‘Violent, dangerous, unstable’: US updates travel advice for South Africa