JOHANNESBURG, 27 NOVEMBER 2021 – With the about-turn in global travel regulations against South Africa over the past 48 hours, travel experts from Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) are working around the clock to assist all travellers who have been affected by the recent travel bans.

“Our core focus right now is to become a help and customer centre for travellers. From #travelboom to #countrylockdowns in the space of 24 hours, the pandemic continues to test our agility. Luckily, we have dedicated consultants who are on standby to assist all South African travellers with their immediate needs at any time of the day and night,” said Andrew Stark, MD FCTG for the Middle East and Africa.

“The decision to impose travel bans has been a knee-jerk decision by governments across the globe. These decisions are beyond the control of airlines, hotels and travel consultants. FCTG is working closely with travel suppliers to find the best solution for all travellers in terms of rebooking policies and refunds. We will communicate with travellers regularly to keep them updated on this fluid situation.”

The WHO cautioned countries on Friday against hastily imposing travel restrictions linked to the new Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of COVID-19, saying they should take a “risk-based and scientific approach” instead.

Unfortunately, the warning fell on deaf ears and a great number of countries have imposed strict travel restrictions on travel from South Africa. These countries include the UAE, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, UK, and US.

The following airlines have or will suspend services as of 27 November: Air Austral, Air Mauritius, Air France, Air Seychelles, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

While South Africans are waiting for updates from the WHO, the NCCC and scientists with regards to the next steps in combatting this new variant, FCTG would like to urge all South African travellers to get vaccinated.

“The COVID vaccination is the only solution to curb the emergence of new variants across the globe. We expect that countries will start limiting travel for non-vaccinated travellers
instead of banning all travellers. South Africa is currently only 23% fully vaccinated. Let’s turn this around and be part of the solution,” concludes Stark.