Omicron reduced SA’s foreign visitors by 30% in December

Following the discovery of Omicron, international travel restrictions were implemented, resulting in a 30 percent decrease in international arrivals in South Africa in December. Travelers from the Netherlands, on the other hand, persisted.

After facing a year’s worth of targeted travel restrictions, South Africa’s struggling tourist industry had anticipated for a successful Christmas season. Key tourist source markets such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States have just recently relaxed their prohibitions on South African travel.

Then there was Omicron. The severely mutated coronavirus strain was discovered by a team of scientists working for South Africa’s genomic monitoring network in late November, and word of its discovery quickly circulated around the world.

Within 48 hours, dozens of nations had imposed travel restrictions on citizens traveling to and from South Africa. The total amount of immediate cancellations exceeded R1 billion. The majority of the prohibitions remained in place into December, despite evidence that Omicron had been operating in other countries prior to its discovery in South Africa. The travel prohibitions have been criticized for being unscientific, inefficient, and discriminatory, to name a few characteristics.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) recently provided data on a number of topics.

According to the data, international arrivals decreased by 30% in December compared to November. It is customary for December to experience a spike in international arrivals, and it is considered the busiest travel month of the year.

The number of people entering in the United States from Europe has decreased by 31%. When it came to travel from Germany, one of South Africa’s most important source markets for tourism, travelers were very cautious, with the number of arrivals more than halving from November to December.

Arrivals from the Middle East were the most adversely affected, with a reduction of 81 percent. Among all continents, North America saw the smallest dip in arrivals, with a 9 percent drop in total.

Only three of the nations identified by Stats SA — the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom – had an increase in visitors in December.

A almost 4% rise in arrivals from the Netherlands, from 4,786 in November to 4,972 in December, represents a significant increase. The number of people traveling from the United Kingdom to South Africa grew by less than 3%.

Arrivals from Sweden had the highest rise, with almost 25% more visitors arriving in South Africa in December than in November.

Despite these improvements, South Africa’s December arrivals from the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom remain alarmingly low when compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2018.

Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, which has since spread around the world, South Africa welcomed more than 250,000 foreigners in December 2019. In 2021, that number is expected to shrink to roughly 51,500. Despite the fact that this is a 41 percent increase over the previous year, it is still an 80 percent decrease when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom, which is South Africa’s primary source market, were up 22 percent from the previous year. For travelers from Sweden, the situation is considerably worse, with just 18 percent of pre-pandemic levels being reached.

Travelers from the Netherlands were the most robust of the three nations whose numbers climbed in December, with arrivals from the country remaining at 37 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

In addition, while the overall number of international arrivals in South Africa declined substantially in December, visitors from other African nations climbed by almost 5%. Travelers from nations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) area, particularly Zimbabwe and Mozambique, made up the large bulk of those that arrived in the country.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button