Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu welcomes the decision of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to allow South African travelers to enter their country as of today (Saturday).
This comes after a number of meetings Minister Sisulu held with the UAE government including a member of the UAE’s royal family, His Highness, Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Makhtoum, selling South Africa as a safe country to visit.
The UAE had imposed a two-month-long travel ban on South Africa and its neighboring countries following the detection of the Omicron variant.
“This is the culmination of the hard work and dedication of all tourism stakeholders.
The war room we established is yielding results and today we see the UAE re-opening their doors to our travelers. Let us continue to work hand in hand to revive our industry,” Minister Sisulu said.
The UAE was one of at least 70 countries to reimpose restrictions on travelers coming from the SADC region including South Africa at the end of November which was widely criticized including by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Travelers from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, will be permitted to enter from Saturday 29 January.
The UAE is one of South Africa’s top bilateral trade partners in the Middle East, with total exports worth R25.4 billion in 2018.
“As countries begin to relax barriers of entry to and from South Africa, we expect to see increased resumption of travel which in turn will speed up the recovery of the industry,” said Sisulu.
Minister Sisulu had bilateral engagements with potential investors, members of the trade that sell South Africa to the world, airline executives and members of the Diplomatic Community during her four-day working visit to Dubai from 12 to 16 December 2021.
South Africa has a code sharing agreement with the Emirates, which gives the Airline access to South Africa’s domestic routes while Emirates promotes South Africa on its Airline’s Global Network.
His Highness, Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Makhtoum, indicated during his engagement with Minister Sisulu that Emirates’ long-term plan is to grow the tourism business and position the UAE as a destination rather than being a hub dependent on passenger transit.
“Airlift is key pillar for South Africa’s tourism recovery and we view our collaboration with Emirates as critical in supporting our turnaround strategy and rebuilding trust in travel to the Global South ” said Sisulu.
Issued on behalf of Minister LN Sisulu
Cell: 083 784 0719
Cell: 072 550 9019/ 060 955 9035