Welcoming the restart of the first SAUDIA Airlines flight between Johannesburg and Jeddah on Friday (December 1), Government has submitted a proposal for a direct flight between Cape Town and Saudi Arabia.
“A direct flight between Cape Town and Saudi Arabia will further boost our efforts to grow tourism, especially cultural and religious tourism that will bring great benefits for Hajj and Umrah travellers,” said the Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille.
She highlighted that direct flights and increased air access were essential to the mission to ensure ease of travel that would encourage travellers and help increase the performance of the tourism sector.
“We have been working closely with our counterparts in Saudi Arabia, through the Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Air Connectivity Programme, and other stakeholders to grow tourism between South Africa and Saudi Arabia,” the Minister added.
The Department of Tourism has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Tourism to work on various efforts to grow tourism between the two countries.
De Lille said: “We will continue working with our counterparts in Saudi Arabia to jointly promote and market these flights and tourism offerings in Saudi Arabia and South Africa to grow tourism numbers in our respective destinations. This latest move will undoubtedly increase tourism's contribution to our economies.
“I express my gratitude to all teams involved in the resumption of the direct flight between Jeddah and Johannesburg, including SAUDIA Airlines, Acsa, and all other roleplayers.”
Ease of access
To further boost tourism between the two countries, in October Saudi Arabia opened e-Visas to South Africa – the first African country to qualify. This announcement was made following an official visit to Saudi Arabia by De Lille to strengthen tourism relations with the kingdom.
De Lille said: “I am extremely pleased with this development as South Africa also became the first African country to be added to the list. This will certainly bring immense benefits for leisure and Umrah travellers and for our efforts to grow tourism between South Africa and Saudi Arabia.”
The multi-entry e-Visa is valid for one year and allows travellers to visit the kingdom for up to 90 days at a time. It costs SAR535 (€136) which also includes medical insurance.
Meanwhile travellers from Saudi Arabia are part of South Africa’s visa-exempt countries and do not require a visa to travel to South Africa for a period of up to 90 days.
The Saudi Arabian flag carrier will operate the route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until January 31, 2024, using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
The flight schedule will be as follows:
- Flight SV449 departs JED at 01h20 and arrives in JNB at 07h35 on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Flight SV447 departs JED at 13h50 and arrives in JNB at 20h05 on Saturdays and Mondays.
- Flight SV448 departs JNB at 08h50 and arrives in JED at 16h45 on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Flight SV446 departs JNB at 21h40 and arrives in JED at 05h35 on Saturdays and Mondays.
SAUDIA last operated flights to Johannesburg in early 2020.