Bi-weekly Destination Intelligence Insights


1. SA: NICD confirms new Covid-19 variant known as B.1.1.529 has been detected in SA. Over 2,465 new Covid-19 cases of the new variant were recorded in SA, with the majority in Gauteng. 

2. GERMANY: Germany is expected to declare South Africa a virus variant area today (26 November 2021) after the detection of a new Covid-19 variant. This means that entry into Germany from South Africa will be limited to Germans returning from their travels only.  

3. UK: UK has placed SA back on the travel red list over concerns of new variant. 

4. WORLWIDE: Israel and Singapore have also banned travellers and the EU is currently proposing bans.  

5. GERMANY: Germany has announced tougher regulations, including requiring people to prove they are vaccinated, cured, or have recently tested negative for the virus before they can travel on public transport or go into the workplace.  

6. EU: On 19 November 2021, Austria announced the beginning of a 10-day lockdown to curb the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases. The country also became the first Western democracy to announce that it would require Covid vaccinations for its entire adult population from 1 February 2022.  

7. SA: On 25 November 2021, the SA Cabinet extended the State of Disaster until 15 December 2021. This decision comes as cases increase and a new variant has been detected. 

8. SA: SA to host the ICC 50 over Cricket World Cup in 2027. The country will host the event together with Namibia and Zimbabwe.

9. SA: Wesgro has launched a new domestic remote work campaign as part of a provincial strategy to attract digital nomads. 

10. SA: The Ceres Rail Company’s vintage steam train is set to resume services between Cape Town and Elgin on November 28 – after 20 months of closure due to the pandemic. 

11. SA: Airbnb has announced the launch of its Neighbourhood Support Line in South Africa, offering neighbours a direct line of communication to Airbnb to report urgent concerns about a listing or guest behaviour in their local community.

1. Global Accolades: The V&A Waterfront has won a global award at the World Responsible Tourism Awards, recognising destinations that educate, challenge, and inspire other businesses. The V&A Waterfront was recognised for its work in “sustaining employees and communities through the pandemic”.

2. USA: Fully vaccinated South Africans can now enter the US without the need to quarantine, with a negative PCR test. 

3. USA:  SA citizens who are first-time travellers to the US will have to wait until the 3rd quarter of 2022 to secure a visa appointment. The first available appointments start from May 2022 in Durban and August 2022 for Cape Town and Johannesburg. 

4. UK: From 22 November 2021, under 18’s entering England will be treated as fully vaccinated at the border and will be exempt from self-isolation requirements on arrival, day eight testing and pre-departure testing

5. SA: SANParks has confirmed that, from 22-28 November 2021 all South African citizens can enter most, but not all, national parks throughout the country free of charge. This is for the 16th annual SA National Parks Week.

6. SA: Airlink is to become the first carrier in Southern Africa to trial the IATA Travel Pass. The trial will be carried out on Airlink’s flights between South Africa and Namibia during November. 

7. SA: South African Tourism has confirmed that the two signature global trade shows – Meetings Africa and Africa’s Travel Indaba will be back next year. Both events will be hosted in person with limited virtual attendance. 

8. SA: Plettenberg Bay airport has been officially reopened with CemAir flights resuming on Friday 12 November 2021.

9. SA: As international travel recovers, Air France (31 October 2021), British Airways (3 November 2021) and Lufthansa Airline (1 November 2021) have all resumed their services to Cape Town.

10. SA: has increased its flight frequency on the Durban-Cape Town sighting increased demand. They launched a double daily service from 10 November 2021. 

1. Global Accolades: Table Mountain has been named Africa’s leading tourist destination for the 3rd year in a row by the 2021 World Travel Awards (WTA). 

2. USA: From 15 January 2022, cruise ships in the US will not be obligated to follow strict Covid-19 regulations. This comes as the US lifts restrictions to resume international travel. 

3. USA: The US government has announced new travel requirements as they prepare to open international travel again. The country will be open to fully vaccinated travellers. Travellers under the age of 18 and people who come from countries where the vaccine is not easily accessible will be exempt from the vaccination rule.  

4. USA: From 8 November 2021, fully vaccinated travellers, travelling from South Africa will be allowed entry into the USA. Fully vaccinated air travellers will continue to be required to show documentation of a pre-departure negative viral test from a sample taken within three days of travel to the United States before boarding. 

5. Australia: Qantas will resume flights to South Africa via Johannesburg on 5 January 2022. The airline will return to operating three flights a week on the SYD-JNB route. 

6. Switzerland: Zurich Airport has won the WTA for best airport in Europe, for the 18th year in a row. 

7. SA: AirFrance is set to resume its Cape Town schedule with three flights a week starting on 31 October 2021. 

8. SA: SATSA has called on the SA government to remove the requirement of a PCR test for fully vaccinates travellers. SATSA says this will create a massive opportunity to lure travellers from important source markets like the USA and UK. 

9. SA: MSC cruises will return to SA waters in December 2021 in time for the summer holidays. Unvaccinated guests over the age of 18 will need to take an antigen lateral flow test at a cost of R300 per person.

10. Global: The UNWTO was part of the Future of Tourism World Summit (26-27 October 2021) under the theme ‘Barcelona: A Call for Action’. This is a statement of intent signed by governments, destinations and businesses outlining a shared vision for a greener, more inclusive, and resilient tourism, citing the sector’s potential contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and the shift to net-zero. 

1. UK: With effect from 11 October, South Africa has been removed from the UK’s red list and vaccine cards will be accepted as proof of vaccination. Fully vaccinated travellers from South Africa will be allowed to enter the UK without needing to quarantine.

2. UK: Following the country’s removal from the red list, Virgin Atlantic announced that it was expanding its portfolio of flights to South Africa. From November 8, flights between Johannesburg and London Heathrow will increase from three times a week to a daily service.

3. UK: Virgin Atlantic plans to reinstate a direct flight between London and Cape Town in mid-December due to high demand.

4. AUSTRALIA: From 1 November, Sydney will allow fully vaccinated international travellers entry without the need for quarantine.

5. SA: SATSA and TBCSA are calling on the government to remove the PCR test requirement for vaccinated travellers to attract more international tourists to SA.

6. SA: SAA and Emirates Airline have reactivated their long-standing codeshare deal which is aimed at increasing connectivity for both carriers on the SA-UAE route.

7. SA: SA launched its Global Advocacy Program in hopes of attracting tourists from key source markets. The program was initiated by SAT and TBCSA in an effort to correct the damaging narratives and misinformation reported globally about South Africa.

8. SA: Etihad Airways has announced that it will reinstate flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town from 25 November. The airline will operate three flights a week, on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

9. SA: On 8 October, the digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate launched and South Africans are able to download their digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate. More updates are expected at the end of October.

10. SA: On 4 October, Table Mountain Cableway celebrated its 92nd birthday and in celebration are offering local tourists a discount throughout October.

1. USA: Covid-19-related travel restrictions will be lifted for travellers from the European Union, United Kingdom and other regions still to be announced from November 2021. Foreign travellers will be allowed to fly to the US if they are fully vaccinated, undergo testing and contact tracing.
2. UK: A simplified system for international travel from the UK, a single red list of countries and territories will replace the current traffic light system. Changes come into effect on October 4th. 

3. AFRICA: United Airlines and regional airline, Airlink, have entered into a new codeshare agreement that will offer customers more connections between the US and Southern Africa. The new agreement is still under review and is subject to government approvals.

4. SA: SATSA has launched its latest campaign – the Let’s Go movement, which aims to newly position and showcase South Africa’s tourism offerings for local and international consumers, DMCs and tour guides. The campaign seeks to establish a new way of collaboration among stakeholders across the Tourism, Events, Arts and Culture, and Heritage sectors.

5. SA: Netflix conducted a Cultural Affinity survey with subscribers from Canada, Germany, the US, the UK, Brazil, and France which found that, international viewers are three times more likely to visit SA after watching SA-based shows. The full study can be found here.

6. SA: From 1 October, SA has moved to lockdown level 1. The new level 1 restrictions can be found here

1. Global Accolades: In the latest edition of Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards, Cape Town has been voted as the best city in Africa and the Middle East.
2. USA: The United States is developing a “new system for international travel” that will include contact tracing for when it eventually lifts travel restrictions that bar much of the world’s population from entering the country. 

3. EU: European countries are re-imposing travel restrictions on U.S. travellers following the EU Council’s decision to remove the U.S. from its “green list” at the end of August. This is despite the WTTC calling on this move a step that will slow down recovery.   

4. UK: The UK’s “traffic light” travel system could be scrapped from next month. The UK may potentially allow vaccinated travellers to go to countries with similarly high levels of vaccination as the UK without the need for quarantine.

5. Canada: Fully vaccinated South Africans can now visit Canada for non-essential purposes without needing to quarantine. Children between the ages of 12 to 17 also need to be vaccinated to avoid quarantine.

6. Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has lifted its travel ban on South Africa, allowing for movement between the two countries. Tourists need to be fully vaccinated and will have to prove their status via mobile app. 

7. Seychelles: As of 13 September, South African travellers, whether vaccinated or not are allowed to visit Seychelles without quarantine. A negative Covid-19 PCR test and a completed Health Travel Authorisation form is required.  

8. SA: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has secured 15 international conferences which could bring approximately 22 000 delegates to Cape Town and create an estimated R594 million for the local economy over the next six years. 

9. SA: South African Tourism is hosting the 2021 China Virtual Road Show and Virtual Fam this week (September 13-17) to reconnect Chinese buyers with the South African trade while testing market readiness.

10. SA: As of 12 September, South Africa moved to alert level 2 lockdown.

1. Global: IATA has backed EU’s digital vaccine certificate and urged other countries to make it their global standard for digital vaccine certificates. IATA also offered its collaboration to the EU and any other interested state to further integrate the Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) into airline processes for a secure and seamless passenger experience. 
2. EU: With effect from 27 August, Ireland has opened to fully vaccinated South Africans. Fully vaccinated travellers will be free from mandatory quarantine requirements upon arrival in Ireland. 

3. EU: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has criticised the decision by the EU to potentially reintroduce restrictions on US travellers entering the region. WTTC stated that to reimpose restrictions on US travellers is a step backwards and will only slow down the recovery of the sector.  

4. UK: The UK government has responded to the petition to remove South Africa from the ‘red list’, but insists that as a country that presents a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern that it will not be removed.

5. UK: The tourism industry in the UK has issued a negative response to the latest green list update for arrivals into the UK. The industry says it is disappointed by the latest update and that it makes little difference to the already suffering travel sector. 

6. AUSTRALIA: Qantas Airline has extended the ban on flights between South Africa and Australia until April 2022. The decision was influenced by SA’s slow vaccination rate. 

7. UAE: As of 30 August, the United Arab Emirates has opened tourist visa applications to everyone who has been vaccinated with one of the shots approved by the World Health Organization. Passengers arriving on tourist visas must register their vaccination status on the government’s health app and undergo rapid testing at the airport.  

8. SA: The Western Cape government has called on the national government to ease lockdown regulations citing that the success of the summer season remains dependent on the opening of the economy.  

9. SA: SAA is set to operate only one domestic route upon return. The only route that will be serviced by the airline is the JNB-CPT-JNB route. Flights are set to return on 23 September 2021.

10. SA: A new tourism body has been established to help small tourism businesses cope with the impact of Covid-19. The Small Tourism Enterprise Association (STEA) is looking to take on challenges relating to market access, business management skills and training, access to ICT and infrastructure, finance, and regulation.


1. Global accolade: Cape Town International Airport has been named Africa’s best airport for the 6th year in a row by Skytrax at the World Airport Awards. 

2. EU: Austria has opened to fully vaccinated South Africans as the rest of Europe slowly reopens to travellers from SA. Fully vaccinated travellers will be free from mandatory quarantine requirements upon arrival to Austria.   

3. UK: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has called upon the UK government to abandon the traffic light system. WTTC has called the traffic light system both “confusing and damaging” for the tourism industry and travellers.  

4. UK: As of 12 August, the UK requires visitors with doses of two different COVID vaccines to quarantine on arrival for 10 days when arriving from an amber list country. The UK has said that they do not recognize people who had mixed vaccines as ‘fully vaccinated’.

5. UK: British Airways intends to resume its service to Cape Town from 01 November 2021.  

6. USA: Travel bodies in the US are making a plea to the presidents’ administration to relax restrictions on non-essential travel as soon as possible to allow the industry to recover.

7. UAE: Emirates will introduce more flights to SA and has entered into a codeshare agreement with the regional airline – Airlink. The deal will give travellers to and from South Africa access to more than 40 domestic and regional destinations in Africa.

8. SA: SATSA is continuing their lobbying efforts to remove SA from the red list. The petition, targeted at UK citizens is gaining momentum with more than 23 000 signatures received to date (19/08/2021). The petition can be found here.

9. SA: FEDHASA announced their intention to work with the Tourism Ministry on new tourism opportunities for SA, including tapping into the ‘digital nomad market’ with the intention of improving the global ranking, from #16 to #3. 

10. SA: South African Health Product Regulatory Association (SAHPRA) has authorised a local biotechnology company, CapeBio, to manufacture Covid-19 PCR test kits. The objective is to decrease the price and increase accessibility to the tests.


1. Global: According to IATA, the global demand for passenger air travel was down 67% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.

2. EU: The European Union Commission has announced the outline for the future European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) which is on track to be fully operational by the end of 2022. Once in place, non-EU citizens including UK citizens travelling to the Schengen area will be required to register and obtain authorisation prior to travel.   

3. Germany: As of 1 August 2021, South Africa is no longer listed as an area of variant of concern and the general travel ban was lifted. Fully vaccinated South Africans are eligible to enter Germany without quarantine.  

4. Germany: In July, hotel bookings in Germany lead Europe’s growth rate as well as outpacing the global average. According to SiteMinder (open hotel commerce platform), reported bookings in Germany was 68.73% compared to the global average at 76.3%.

5. UK: Scientists have warned that lifting the restrictions might severely impact international travel recovery. They fear that the relaxation of COVID-19 risks the emergence of new, potentially more dangerous variants of the virus. 

6. USA: Delta Air Lines resumed the Atlanta-Johannesburg service as of 1 August 2021 and will be operating the route three times a week. 

7. UAE: Emirates was expected to lift the SA flight ban on the 31 July 2021. UAE authorities have since announced that effective 5 August 2021, eligible travellers from South Africa will only be allowed to transit through the

8. UAE and that the travel ban for travellers remains. 

9. SA: SAA’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) has been renewed by SACAA. This is the final step for SAA to be able to restart operations. 

10. SA: Next Pathology will open its rapid PCR testing facility at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on 5 August 2021. The test will take 2 hours from test to delivery of results and will cost R2000. 

11. SA: Mango Airlines has temporarily suspended all flights from 27 July 2021 until further notice.  

12. SA: On 5 August, the President announced changes to the cabinet. Lindiwe Sisulu has replaced Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane as Minister of Tourism..