Mauritius ends its ban on SA travellers – but flights will only restart in October
- Mauritius has reopened to travellers coming directly from South Africa, with those who have been fully vaccinated able to explore the island.
- This, after South African tourists were excluded from the island nation’s first phase of reopening.
- Authorised commercial flights, operated initially by Air Mauritius, will return from 1 October.
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Mauritius has lifted its ban on South African travellers, with fully vaccinated visitors able to explore the island nation without being confined to a specific resort from 1 October.
Mauritius has spent most of the pandemic shut off from the rest of the world. Ongoing travel restrictions have had a devastating impact on its tourism industry, which accounts for almost a quarter of the island’s total economy.
In a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector, while keeping Covid-19 infections down and increasing vaccine coverage across the island, Mauritius embarked on a phased reopening which officially started on 1 September.
Under the banner of enjoying a “hotel holiday” in Mauritius, vaccinated travellers have been confined to selected resorts. This first phase, which ends on 30 September, allows vaccinated visitors to access beaches, pools, and other facilities within the perimeter of the hotel or resort.
South African travellers have, however, been excluded from the first phase of Mauritius’ reopening, with the island nation upholding its travel ban and suspending flights.
The second phase of Mauritius’ reopening will include visitors from South Africa, as confirmed by the Mauritian government’s decision to lift its ban on Friday.
“We welcome the decision by the Mauritian government. South Africa remains a proximity and priority market for tourism on the island,” said Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA).
“We are delighted that we will be able to restart our long-standing relationship after an 18-month ban on travel.”
But while the ban was ended on Friday 10 September, authorised commercial flights will only resume from 1 October, aligning with the second phase of Mauritius’ reopening.
Air Mauritius has previously confirmed its intention to resume direct flights between the island and Johannesburg’s OR Tambo on 1 October. At the start of the year, local low-cost carrier, FlySafair, confirmed that it would be introducing flights to Mauritius once travel restrictions had been eased.
The MTPA also lists Comair – which operates Kulula and British Airways locally – as an authorised commercial airline company due to return to Mauritius, although a return date is still to be confirmed.
“South Africans have been longing for the Mauritius they know and love, from white sandy beaches and clear blue seas and skies to our warm and friendly people, and so much more. Mauritius is ready and we can’t wait to welcome South Africans back to our beautiful country,” said Arvind Bundhun.
Fully vaccinated South African travellers – those who have received either two doses of the Pfizer vaccine or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson – will still need to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. All visitors will also need to complete a health self-declaration form and passenger locator form.
Unvaccinated travellers will still be allowed to enter Mauritius, with a negative PCR test, but will be confined to a 14-day hotel quarantine.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)
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