A Spotlight on South African Travel Trends

Loosening restrictions in South Africa means an uptick in travel intent.

Ashley Proceviat
July 19, 2022


After two long years, the South African government announced on June 22 that it was scrapping all Covid-related regulations. Masks are no longer mandatory, limits on the size of gatherings are no more, and travellers will not need to produce a vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test to enter the country.

The summer months in the northern hemisphere are considered low season in South Africa. However, in addition to the positive news regarding loosening restrictions for South African travel, US carriers have also introduced several non-stop flights. As such, people are seeing new opportunities to visit.

Here’s what we are seeing in terms of interest in travel to South Africa, and what it means for travel marketers.

2022 Flight Bookings Well Up on 2021

When we look at South Africa, travel started picking back up again in late 2021 and this continues into 2022.

In fact, by May 2022, flight bookings were up 25% on their 2021 levels.

Travel Marketing Tip: Travel intent and bookings are up to South Africa. Destination marketers, now is the time to take advantage of this upswing in interest. Capture attention by using striking video assets while travellers are searching online.

Shifts in Domestic and International Lead Times

When we compare the first half of 2022 to 2019, we see changes in lead times—the period between booking and when the person actually travels.

International travellers are planning further in advance in 2022 vs. 2019, showing increased confidence that borders will remain open later in the year. On the other hand, domestic travellers are booking trips closer to departure dates than pre-COVID. Easing of lockdowns in June allowed domestic business travel to resume, and intra-state travel relaxed a month later. We continue to see demand increase to places that are easy to get into and out of.

Travel Marketing Tip: While travel may be on the upswing, the evolving nature of the virus means that travel restrictions remain a possibility. So, make your hygiene procedures and cancellation policies easily accessible on your website. Consider including or maintaining some of this information on your ad creatives. 

Domestic Travel Remains Strong

Domestic travel continues to be strategically important to South Africa as travel recovers.

Domestic travel accounts for nearly half of all travel into South Africa. The major international origin markets include the UK, the US, and Germany. 

Travel Marketing Tip: Regardless of where your customers begin their journey, Sojern uses intent data to reach people looking at your destination or might be interested in your destination based on similar searches they’ve done, so you make better, smarter use of your advertising spend.

For more travel insights, remember to check out our Travel Insights Dashboard.

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