Despite the easing of lockdown measures worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on most industries, none more so than travel and tourism. Furthermore, the international travel ban has halted businesses travelling to African countries for potential partnerships and meetings with stakeholders, with these businesses often being small and medium enterprises.

To highlight the underlying impact hereon, Xpatweb conducted an Africa Permit Impact Survey which aimed to measure the impact on projects in Africa. 62% of survey respondents indicated that they had to postpone the start date of their critical projects due to lockdown measures.

Feeling the Pinch: Africa Travel and Tourism

Travel and tourism contribute over €150 billion to Africa’s economy combined, representing 7.1% of GDP and supporting millions of jobs, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council in May 2020. Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions halted that growth, with temporary lockdowns forcing airports, hotels, and restaurants to shut down for varying periods. Even though these were temporary restrictions, it might take months for the tourism industry to recover to its normal levels.

Although travel has been greatly impacted, it is noteworthy that most often the relevant Authorities in different jurisdictions in Africa, have made exceptions to allow emergency travel for urgent and critical work activities, especially where there is a direct impact on a given project. Harmoniously, since the start of the South Africa lockdown, it has been Xpatweb’s main objective to keep our clients and the community updated on recurring immigration changes within South Africa.

Based on our experience assisting clients to obtain such travel documentation, numerous Government authorities issued approvals to allow professionals to leave South Africa for work purposes. Under normal circumstances, it is a challenge to obtain concessions from Government authorities. However, despite travel restrictions of varying degrees, approvals were successfully issued to travellers to enter African countries such as, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Swaziland, Senegal, Mozambique etc. With the necessary approvals in place, travellers, business people, and foreigners, were able to reach their final destinations successfully.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Most African countries have now opened for travel, whereby tourists and/or professionals can enter an African country provided that they have valid reasons to travel during these times. It is important to note that regulations differ from country to country hence we advise all travellers to confirm the regulations of their destination country and/or transiting country before proceeding with travel arrangements. For the latest updates on Africa borders and closures, please click here.

Should you have any questions or require assistance with travel approval, please contact us on



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