Travel professionals have got your back…
COVID-19 and beyond

More than ever, there’s peace of mind in knowing that you have the expertise, empathy and unwavering support of a travel professional to help you navigate the travel storm of COVID-19.

Now that South Africa has entered Level 1, the world is slowly opening up again to travellers. As you are selecting your next holiday destination, you’re likely to have more questions than ever before. Does your chosen destination accept South African travellers amid the COVID pandemic? What are the quarantine requirements? What happens if you get sick while on holiday?

ASATA travel experts continue to work tirelessly to keep updated with the latest information. They have their finger on the pulse when it comes to travel bans, rebooking options and cancellation policies. They’re wading through reams of information, some of it inaccurate, to provide the best possible proactive solutions and answers for their travelling customers.

We thank the travelling public for their patience and understanding as we juggle hundreds of balls to get the best possible outcome for our customers in these unprecedented times.

Your next holiday is waiting. And your ASATA travel expert is prepared to answer your questions, work within your budget and help you keep safe as you rediscover the joys of travelling.

You know that when you’re leaning on your trusted ASATA-accredited travel agent, that they’ve got your back. Not only in times of COVID-19, but beyond.

Travel with Peace of Mind. Travel with an ASATA-accredited agent.

How can I find out if my travel agent is an ASATA member?

You can search for any ASATA member by name here.

General travel advice for travellers

We understand at this time, the disruption to your travel will be confusing and upsetting. Travel Agents are working around the clock to re-accommodate travellers as the situation evolves rapidly. They should be your first port of call, but please do be patient as they will be working on multiple enquiries with information that is changing continuously.

Here is a list of FAQs we hope will resolve some of your enquiries:

What is the confirmed list of high-risk countries?

On 19 October 2020, the South African Government revised the list of high-risk countries based on a risk categorisation model.

According to a government statement, the review of the list of high-risk countries was done in such a way that it strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods.

Nothing has changed as far as all travellers from the continent of Africa are concerned. They are still welcome to visit the country subject to Covid-19 protocols.

People from high-risk countries who may visit SA fall in the following categories: business travellers, holders of critical skills visas, investors and people on an international mission in sports, arts, culture and science.

The most recent list of high-risk countries, as of 19 October is:

Argentina Germany Peru
Bangladesh India Philippines
Belgium Indonesia Russia
Brazil Iran Spain
Canada Iraq United Kingdom
Chile Italy USA
Colombia Mexico
France Netherlands

Where can I turn if I need assistance abroad?

Should a South African or foreign national require assistance abroad (e.g. returning home, visa purposes, etc.), a list of all South African representation abroad is available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s website. South African missions abroad are listed alphabetically by the country in which they are located. The individual websites for these embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad are also listed here.

Which international ports are open?

Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart. The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed. All commercial seaports will be opened.

What are the requirements to enter South Africa after my holidays?

All arrivals to South Africa will be required to present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. All travellers will be screened on arrival and anyone presenting symptoms will be required to remain in quarantine until a repeat COVID-19 test is conducted. All travellers will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. Information on the app can be found here. Returning South Africans will be able to self-quarantine at home.

How often and on what criteria will the list of permitted countries be updated?

The list of permitted and prohibited countries will be based on the latest scientific data and consultation from the Departments of Home Affairs, Health and Transport. According to the Minister of Tourism, this will be based on WHO guidelines and the list will be updated every two weeks.

What are my options for postponing or cancelling a trip?

The unprecedented and unpredictable situation is such that travel suppliers, such as airlines, are having to change their rebooking and cancellation policies daily, if not hourly.

As such, we recommend you get in touch with your travel agent swiftly to ascertain what options are open to you. Understand that should you opt to wait and see what happens, those travel options may change as the situation evolves.

Each airline, hotel, etc will have their own travel cancellation and rebooking policies in place. You may find, for example, that instead of a cash refund, you are given the option of a credit voucher. If you are due a cash refund, this may also take time to refund due to the high volume of enquiries the travel industry is currently dealing with.

We further recommend that you opt to postpone your travel, not cancel it outright. This will ensure that you have your trip secured for when the situation returns to normal, but also support your travel professional maintain its cash flow in the short-term.

Above all, your travel agent will ensure they are proactively advising you of what these are and what the best outcome for you will be.

Will my travel insurance cover me for my travel?

We always recommend that travellers secure travel insurance prior to travelling for leisure or business. It is essential that you understand what the terms thereof are and whether situations like COVID-19 are covered. Travel insurance offers differ from supplier to supplier, but largely do not cover a disinclination to travel, i.e. there is no travel ban in place but you have decided you no longer wish to travel. If you are unsure as to what scenarios your travel insurance covers, please contact them directly for details.