South Africans have been excluded from the list of countries allowed to travel to the Seychelles…
According to the Seychelles News Agency, the island will once again open its borders to tourists. HOWEVER, South Africans are still restricted from entering the country.
According to the agency, tourists will need a negative PCR test done not more than 72 hours prior to arrival in the country and will not need to be quarantined, and 535 hotels have been certified to house foreign guests.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde said at a press conference that strict health protocols remain in place and wearing masks, hand sanitising, and physical distancing are mandatory.
Why ban South Africans?
The move to block South Africans was done in the hope of protecting the European markets who are concerned about the Covid-19 variant 501Y.V2 found in South Africa. The European market is “vital for the tourism industry in the Seychelles” according to the minister.
“The problem is the European market. We are already on a red list in England associated with flights to South Africa. So we are in discussions with the British authorities to better understand what their problem is and how to resolve this. Once resolved we will open to everyone including South Africa,” explained the minister.
Much of the Seychelles economy depends on tourism and the government does not want to risk relations with Europe.
South African Tourism has compiled a tourism snapshot that provides a monthly look at international tourism from key source markets to South Africa. According to the entity, it is still currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes in the UK. If travel has occurred in or through high-risk countries (including South Africa) in the previous 10 days, travellers will be refused entry to the UK. British Nationals, Irish National, travellers with residence rights in the UK can enter but must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
Seychelles Tourism Board’s Sherin Francis said that European travellers have expressed interest in the island nation.
“For instance, there are markets like Germany, Israel and England and there has always been, throughout, markets where many people have researched vacations but due to travel conditions many people had not booked any travels, but with the announcement made today, in the coming week we will monitor how our potential visitors react to the announcement,” explained Francis.
On February 24th, the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a list of countries that were able to travel to the islands, South Africa was not on that list. Now as their vaccine roll-out is well underway they have opened their border to the globe – but South Africans will have to wait a while longer before they can travel.