As the South African National Parks (SANParks) braces itself for mass booking amendments from residents of various countries around the world, it has assured local travellers that national parks remain open.
Only 24 hours after the announcement of the new variant, countries have moved to either ban flights from South Africa or implement measures that will only apply to travellers from southern Africa.
As of Friday evening, Canada, United States, UAE, Morocco, Japan, Philippines, Seychelles and Saudi Arabia had suspended flights from South Africa.
As a result, SANParks is preparing to amend bookings from tourists from these countries.
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Managing Executive Tourism Development and Marketing, Hapiloe Sello, said these unfortunate developments call for a proactive approach to minimise adverse impacts on clients.
“We have decided that booked clients from the countries that have introduced travel bans to South Africa will not be charged fees or penalties for amendments and postponements for a 12 month period from the date of 26 November 2021 until such time as the travel bans are lifted. Affected clients are welcome to contact our reservation offices to postpone their reservations to later dates. We encourage guests to opt for SANParks to retain their deposit payments until they are certain about their travel plans and to only consider cancellations and refunds as a last resort,” said Sello in a statement on Friday.
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Sello said cancellations due to other reasons outside of recent travel bans will continue to be subjected to the standard cancellation terms and conditions.
“We want to assure our visitors, particularly local travellers that our national parks remain open and quite likely amongst the safest destinations to travel to.”