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.
Air Mauritius flight resumption from Johannesburg comes when Mauritius reopened its border to travelers from South Africa, and eight other previously restricted countries, on Friday.
This was the latest island nation to lift its South African travel ban, three weeks ahead of schedule, as a similar move was seen taken by island destinations including Seychelles and the Maldives. The popular island destination had initially announced that the Omicron-induced travel ban would last until Jan, 31.
The ban imposed on South African travelers was after the detection of the controversial Omicron coronavirus variant in late November with African countries affected by the ban including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
“The high infection rates in over 50 countries means a person is as likely to catch the Omicron variant in Port Louis, Berlin, Brussels or Paris or as they are in Johannesburg or Cape Town. Travel bans have become redundant in the face of this reality,” Otto de Vries, CEO of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA), said in reaction to Mauritius’ ban. “ASATA is profoundly frustrated and disappointed by the Mauritian Government’s decision to further extend a travel ban when it is evident there is no scientific basis to continue the ban.”
The Island country’s initial decision to extend the travel ban to Jan. 31 was met with disdain, making the popular island destination suddenly change its plans in an announcement on Thursday.
“We are very pleased that South Africans can once again travel to Mauritius,” Arvind Bundhun, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), said.
Mauritius reopened to international travelers in a phased approach, beginning September last year. The first phase restricted travelers to designated resorts, which gradually eased with the second and third phases of reopening.
“Covid-19 has placed 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 scare which was imposed on Nov. 27. With the travel ban now lifted, Mauritius joins the ranks of the Seychelles, Maldives and Zanzibar as the latest idyllic island getaway open to holiday visitors.
FlySafair and South African Airways operate flights directly to Mauritius but have not yet confirmed when these services will resume.
Fully vaccinated travelers going to Mauritius still need to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure and arrange Covid-19 health insurance cover. Additionally, visitors will be required to undergo another free Covid-19 test upon arrival in Mauritius and a self-administered antigen test on day 5 of their holiday.