SA tourism harmed by visa rules - Hanekom | Fin24
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SA tourism harmed by visa rules - Hanekom

May 15 2015 20:00
Paul Vecchiatto

Cape Town - The new visa requirements are deterring travellers from visiting South Africa and the government is reviewing them, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said.

Tourist numbers from all countries requiring visas have dropped, Hanekom told reporters in Cape Town on Thursday, without giving figures.

“It would be difficult not to conclude that the visa regulations are having an impact,” he said. “We are worried about it. We cannot sweep it under the carpet.”

More than 9 million tourists visit South Africa each year. The government is targeting annual income of R500bn from tourism by 2020 and 225 000 new jobs as it seeks to cut a 24% unemployment rate.

The Ministry of Home Affairs introduced new travel requirements in May last year with a view to bolstering security and combating child trafficking.

READ: New visa rules will choke SA tourism - DA

The rules include that visitors must apply in person at a visitor centre for the documents, which need to be in English. From June, the country will require that all children travel with a birth certificate that gives full details of parents.

Airline operators and tourism companies had warned that the new regulations would deter visitors.

The government needs to ensure a balance between national security and growth in tourism, Hanekom said, referring to a commitment by President Jacob Zuma in February.

derek hanekom  |  jacob zuma  |  tourism  |  sa economy


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