Air Mauritius recently announced the resumption of its commercial flights from Johannesburg to Mauritius.
The airline will now serve five weekly flights scheduled for January 2022, operated on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Flights will be operated by both the Airbus A350-900 and the A330-900neo.
The resumption of Air Mauritius flights from Johannesburg comes when Mauritius reopened its border to travelers from South Africa and eight other previously restricted countries on Friday.
It is the latest island country to lift its travel ban on South Africa, three weeks ahead of schedule, as a similar move has been taken by island destinations including the Seychelles and the Maldives. The popular island destination originally announced that the Omicron-induced travel ban would last until January 31.
The ban on South African travelers came after the controversial variant of the Omicron coronavirus was detected in late November with African countries affected by the ban including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
“High infection rates in more than 50 countries mean that a person is as likely to catch the Omicron variant in Port Louis, Berlin, Brussels or Paris as they are in Johannesburg or Cape Town. Travel bans have become redundant in the face of this reality, ”said Otto de Vries, CEO of the Association of Travel Agents of Southern Africa (ASATA), in reaction to Mauritius’ ban. “ASATA is deeply frustrated and disappointed with the decision of the Mauritian government to further extend the travel ban when it is evident that there is no scientific basis to uphold the ban.”
The island nation’s initial decision to extend the travel ban until Jan.31 was met with contempt, forcing the popular island destination to suddenly change its plans in an announcement on Thursday.
“We are very happy that South Africans are able to visit Mauritius again,” said Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA).
Mauritius reopened its doors to international travelers on a phased approach, starting in September of last year. The first phase restricted travelers to designated resorts, which gradually eased with the second and third phases of reopening.
“Covid-19 has put significant pressure on all nations to do the right thing and we thank South Africans and the South African travel industry for their patience in this regard,” Bundhun added. .
This was, however, distorted by the Omicron fear that was imposed on November 27. With the travel ban now lifted, Mauritius joins the ranks of the Seychelles, Maldives and Zanzibar as the latest idyllic getaway open to vacationers.
FlySafair and South African Airways operate flights directly to Mauritius but have not yet confirmed when these services will resume.
Fully vaccinated travelers traveling to Mauritius must always present a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours of departure and purchase Covid-19 health insurance coverage. Additionally, visitors will be required to undergo another free Covid-19 test upon arrival in Mauritius and a self-administered antigen test on the 5th day of their vacation.