UPDATE | Seychelles does an abrupt U-turn – bans South African travellers one day after reopening

Business Insider SA
Seychelles South Africa travel
  • South African travellers were due to be welcomed back to the Seychelles on Tuesday, after being banned from the islands for most of the year.
  • But on the same day that the Seychelles “reopened” to tourists, it issued an updated travel advisory which banned South Africans from 2 June onwards.
  • This swift reversal has led Air Seychelles, which had already taken bookings for flights from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo in the first week of June, to cancel its return to South Africa.
  • South African ticket holders can exchange their cancelled flights for travel at a future date, request a refund or request to be transferred to the Maldives, instead.
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The Seychelles has reversed an earlier decision to allow South African travellers to enter the island nation just one day after tourists were due to be welcomed back.

The Seychelles’ ministry of foreign affairs released an upbeat travel advisory on Friday 28 May, announcing that South African travellers – who had been restricted from entering the island nation for most of the year – would be “welcomed” back on 1 June.

An added bonus for holiday-deprived South Africans was the reversal of an earlier-touted travel clause which would only allow for vaccinated tourists to enter the Seychelles.

"With immediate effect, Seychelles is ready to welcome all visitors irrespective of their vaccination status on the condition that they have a Covid-19 negative PCR test certificate that must be taken within 72 hours prior to travel," the ministry said in a statement which has since been deleted.

"With effect as from 1 June 2021, visitors/travellers from South Africa will be permitted to travel and enter Seychelles. No quarantine is required for visitors entering Seychelles.”

The reopening also triggered Air Seychelles into action, with the national carrier confirming flights to and from Johannesburg in the first week of June.

But on the day South Africans were due to be officially unbanned from entering the Seychelles, the ministry released an updated travel advisory. The only difference between the latest advisory and the one published on 28 May was the outright reversal of South African travellers’ access to the islands.

South Africa was initially separated from Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan – as countries which would remain on the Seychelle’s banned list – in the travel advisory issued on 28 May.

“However, visitors who have been in South Africa, Brazil, India, Bangladesh Nepal and Pakistan within the 14 days preceding arrival to Seychelles will unfortunately be restricted entry,” said the ministry of foreign affairs.

This reversal came into effect on Wednesday, according to the Seychelles Island Travel Authorisation programme, which previously confirmed to Business Insider South Africa that unvaccinated South Africans would be allowed to enter the country.

Air Seychelles, which has since scrapped its South African return date indefinitely, note that tickets purchased for flights in June can be exchanged for travel at a later date, up until 31 December 2021. Alternatively, would-be passengers can request a refund for their tickets for the cancellation of the flight.

South African travellers, who had booked to depart from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, can also request “a change in destination with an option for travel between Johannesburg and Maldives”.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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