Thailand Suspends Travel For SA Tourists In Response to Omicron

Thailand is the latest country to close the door on South African tourists following the discovery of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.

“Due to the discovery and uncertainty around new COVID-19 variant Omricron, Thailand has regrettably suspended all travel from South Africa and seven other African countries,” the Toursim Authority of Thailand said in a statement on Wednesday.

The seven other African countries shut out by Thailand include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The travel ban will be in effect from 1 December 2021.

“It is with great regret that we announce our decision to impose this ban,” says Chiravadee Khunsub, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. “The continued uncertainty around Omicron has resulted in the complete suspension of travel for South African and select African travelers until there is more clarity on the risks and transmission of the COVID-19 variant.”

Khunsub goes on to say that the Thailand authorities will continue to monitor the situation closely and review the mandate as soon as more information on the new variant is made available.

Countries that have banned travellers from South Africa include the UK, US, EU members, Seychelles, Japan, Turkey, Singapore, Israel, India, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia Sri Lanka, Oman, Thailand, Brazil, Guatemala, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Rwanda, Angola, Egypt and Mauritius.

Assisting Affected Travellers

Meanwhile the South African Tourism industry and international tour operators are working overtime to assist travellers who have been affected by the travel bans.

The Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has been working around the clock to assist affected customers and has shared free resources to answer customer’s frequently asked questions.

“Flight Centre’s 48 stores and 500 Travel Experts across the country are open and willing to assist travellers impacted by the travel bans,” says Andrew Stark, Flight Centre Travel Group MD.

“We have had meetings today with our key international airline partners and are working closely with them so that international air travel can resume as soon as possible, as we continue to learn to live with the virus.”

Five FAQs from customers on international travel now are:

  • I have a booking for travel in December, what do I do?
  • What happens if I want a refund?
  • Can I remain in a destination until my holiday is complete?
  • What happens if my travel is interrupted?
  • How long will the restrictions be in place for?

Travellers can find the answers to these and many more questions in the Group’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document. For anyone looking for answers to which destinations are still open and which airlines are still flying, FCTG continues to update a list of destinations and airlines that have restrictions in place.