News of South Africa being removed from the red list of the UK and a number of other countries led to an immediate increase in searches for flights from South African travellers. Global travel search site reveals that searches for international flights in January 2022 have increased by almost 31% compared to December 2021, most for departures in January and February, which shows that South Africans are eager to travel again – and to enjoy the summer months. While searches are up from December 2021, they are down slightly by approx. 1% compared to January 2020 before the pandemic.

The UK remains one of the top destinations with searches for flights from South Africa departing in the next six months up around 32% on December last year, while searches to the United Arab Emirates and Turkey are up around 25% and around 202%, respectively. The latter is quite significant as Turkey only opened its doors to South African visitors on January 15.

Mauritius’ recent lifting of its travel ban for South Africans also led to an increase in searches for the vacation spot by around 162% month-on-month. Other top destinations that saw significant monthly growth according to Cheapflights are the US (+105% vs December 2021), Portugal (+296%), Thailand (+68%) and the Maldives (243% ).

“It is encouraging to see how the easing of travel restrictions immediately leads to an increase in searches for flights. South Africans seem determined to travel and are eager to see their families who live in other countries,” says Laura Bornet, VP & GM EMEA for KAYAK, which manages Cheapflights.