Online travel agency, FlightSite has examined a multitude of confirmed bookings made on its platform for travel between December 2021 and January 2022. The data gives insight into the top five local and overseas destinations South Africans are flying to as air travel makes a comeback ahead of the peak travel season.
Top 5 domestic destinationsTop 5 international destinations
"Against the restrictive conditions Covid-19 has imposed on travellers and the trade, the booking numbers show that South Africans’ appetite for travel endures," says Rian Bornman, FlightSite MD.
While encouraging, the pandemic persists and current demand for international flight tickets is not at the pre-virus level. "Usually, when travel supply exceeds demand cheap flights can be found," says Bornman. "But the economics under Covid are entirely different to anything we’ve experienced before."
Destinations and airlines
The top five international destinations are somewhat different to previous years. Notably, the UK, a perennial favourite for South Africans, is fourth most popular in December 2021 and does not feature in January 2022’s top five. "If restrictions remain light and more airlines continue resuming flights to and from South Africa, the current top five will probably look slightly different soon," said Bornman.
Overseas airlines, many of which have been absent from our skies for months, are resuming South Africa operations. British Airways recently restored direct flights between Cape Town and London Heathrow three times a week, and Emirates, which operates daily direct flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban has returned after suspending all services to South Africa for nearly a year.
New requirements for passengers
SA passport holders are no stranger to onerous documentation, boarding and entry requirements. However, requirements brought on by Covid can differ across airlines and countries bringing new anxieties and hassles that have a bearing on where South Africans choose to travel. For example
• Some destinations such as Seychelles require a negative PCR test only.
• Some destinations such as Mauritius require a negative PCR test and proof of vaccination.
• Even though the U.S. recently reopened to vaccinated South Africans, the first available visa appointments are from mid-2022.
Jimmy Victor, marketing manager at FlightSite, said South Africans shouldn’t be discouraged from booking their dream trip. "There are bargains to be had and we are set up to help people navigate some of the challenging and shifting conditions," he said.