A number of South Africa’s ‘absurd’ regulations regarding foreigners travelling to the country will be relooked and changed following the decline of tourist activity as a direct result of our countries visa restrictions.
A specific regulation introduced by Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, more than three years ago has been blamed for the decline in tourism in SA. This regulation was originally introduced to decrease human trafficking activity by enforcing the need for a parent, travelling to SA with a minor, to have an unabridged birth certificate (UBC) showing both parents’ details and a sworn affidavit from the absent parent.
CEO of South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), David Frost, said tourism has been “going backwards” since the implementation of the law, with a decrease of 2.7% in arrivals to South Africa’s shores.
When it comes to choice of places to visit for foreigners, other countries have ideal destinations to offer without the need to jump over huge hurdles like in South Africa, and tourists are opting for the easier option.
President, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced on Friday that the “nonsensical UBC for foreigners travelling is to be eased and relaxed” which comes as good news for the tourism industry.
Ramaphosa also stated that the review of South Africa’s visa regulations is one of the integral measures to be taken in an attempt to resuscitate the country’s stressed economy, with tourism being a major source of income for South Africa.
The new Cabinet-approved regulations are expected to ignite growth in the South African economy and boost much-needed job creation and restore investor confidence.
On average, each tourist who visits South Africa creates job opportunities for at least two South Africans simultaneously.
“Within the next few months, amendments will be made to regulations on the travel of minors, the list of countries requiring visas to enter South Africa will be reviewed, an e-visas pilot will be implemented and the visa requirements for highly skilled foreigners will be revised,” the President said.
Some of the issues regarding our current foreigner visa applications were even brought to light by Chinese President, Xi Jinping, during his visit to SA in July.
“President Xi Jingping came here and he said many people from China want to travel the world and Africa is one of the places that they want to come to – but they were constrained in coming to South Africa because our visa regimen has been a bit prohibiting, said Ramaphosa.”