The announcement of South Africa being removed from the red list of the UK and a number of other countries has resulted in an immediate increase in searches for flights from South African travellers. Global travel search site Cheapflights.co.za reveals that international flight searches in January 2022 are up by nearly 31% versus December 2021, most of them for departure in January and February, showing South Africans are eager to travel again – and to take advantage of the summer months. While searches are up compared to December 2021, they are slightly down by approx. 1% compared to pre-pandemic January 2020.
The United Kingdom remains one of the top destinations with flight searches from South Africa with departure within the next six months being up by about 32% compared to December last year, while searches to the UAE and Turkey are up by about 25% and about 202%, respectively. The latter is quite significant as Turkey only opened to South African visitors on the 15th of January.
Mauritius’ recent lifting of its travel ban on South Africans has also resulted in searches for this holiday spot increasing by about 162% month on month. Other top destinations that saw significant month-on-month growth according to Cheapflights include the United States (+ 105% from December 2021), Portugal (+296%), Thailand (+68%) and the Maldives (243%).
“It’s encouraging to see how easing of travel restrictions is immediately leading to an increase in flight searches. South Africans seem to be set on travelling and can’t wait to see their families who live in other countries,’ says Laura Bornet, VP & GM EMEA for KAYAK, which manages Cheapflights.