Thailand, Mauritius, and the Netherlands all just reopened to South Africans – with provisos

Business Insider SA
Thailand, Krabi province, Ko Tub island
Ko Tub island in Thailand. (Getty)
  • The holiday-friendly island states of Thailand and Mauritius, plus the Netherlands, all reopened or announced they would welcome SA travellers again on Friday.
  • During August and September, a number of countries dropped specific or general travel restrictions that kept South Africans out.
  • In Thailand, you will still be restricted in where you can go for the first week, and Mauritius will demand a test on arrival as well as on day 5. 
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Two island-getaway destinations, and one important destination in Europe, are now all open to South African visitors again – with some restrictions on movement and testing requirements. 

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that country had dropped restrictions on its "sandbox" scheme, which allows tourists to access a single island for seven days, before then gaining the freedom to travel anywhere in the country.

That allows fully-vaccinated South Africans to visit the sandbox sites Phuket, Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao), Phang-Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao), and Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai and Railay Beach).

Meanwhile, island peer Mauritius followed through on a planned reopening to foreign visitors, with 89% of its population having now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Unvaccinated visitors must still remain in resort bubbles for 14 days, but those fully vaccinated have freedom of movement – with mandatory tests on arrival (on top of a pre-departure PCR test), and on day 5 of their stay.

Mauritius announced the details of its reopening in mid-September, after its flag-carrier airline had earlier announced plans to resume flights to and from SA in October.

Also on Friday, the Netherlands removed South Africa from its list of "very high risk" countries with effect from 9AM.

The Netherlands announced in June that it would allow a very specific subset of South Africans – students, key workers, and those with compelling family reasons – to enter that country after a minimum quarantine period of five days.

The number of countries on the can-travel list has been growing fast

The Seychelles opened to South African travellers in mid-September, with even those not vaccinated against Covid-19 welcomed as long as they show a negative PCR test on arrival.

The island nation will require quarantine only for those who test positive for the coronavirus while there, it said at the time.

See also | South Africans can now holiday in the Seychelles – even if they’re not vaccinated

During August and early September, a number of other destinations popular with South African travellers opened up, including Germany and Austria, Canada (albeit with mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated children aged between 12 and 17), and Ireland (even as the neighbouring United Kingdom controversially kept SA on its red list).

The United States is expected to drop major restrictions on countries including South Africa during November.

In general, avoiding at least home-based self-isolation requirements in such countries requires proof of full vaccination.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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