The United Kingdom has cut 47 destinations from its red list for travel – including South Africa.
In a statement on Thursday evening (7 October), the UK’s transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the change will officially take effect from Monday, 11 October.
“I’m also making changes so travellers visiting England have fewer entry requirements, by recognising those with fully-vax status from 37 new countries and territories including India, Turkey and Ghana, treating them the same as UK fully vaxxed passengers,” he said.
“The measures announced today mark the next step as we continue to open up travel and provide stability for passengers and industry while remaining on track to keep travel open for good.”
I’m also making changes so travellers visiting England have fewer entry requirements, by recognising those with fully-vax status 💉 from 37 new countries and territories including India, Turkey and Ghana, treating them the same as UK fully vax passengers. [2/3]
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) October 7, 2021
The removal of South Africa from the red list means that travellers will no longer be forced to quarantine on arrival in England, which comes at a cost of around £2,295 (R46,658).
It is also expected to significantly boost the tourism industry in South Africa, which has been devastated over the past 18 months by the pandemic.
Virgin Atlantic told the Evening Standard it has already seen a surge in bookings, with particular interest in flights over Christmas period.
“In advance of the red list review today, we have seen our bookings to South Africa increase by 150% over the past four days, compared to the four days prior,” a spokeswoman said.
“The majority of bookings are for passengers originating from the UK however we are also seeing an increase in passengers originating from South Africa as well. The new bookings are for travel in November and December this year in particular around the Christmas period.”