Published on : Tuesday, July 8, 2014
South African players in South Africa have raised concerns about the new immigration rules, and the new regulations would have a damaging affect not only on South Africa, but neighbouring countries as well.
The industry includes hoteliers, game resorts and other tourism destinations, have picked two definite regulations, namely the new requirement for an unabridged birth certificate for minors, as well as the provision for in-person collection of biometric processed visas.
Last year there were around 56 million inbound visitors to Africa; of which between 13 million and 14 million visited South Africa, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation.
Targets set out in the National Development Plan show that by 2020 the tourism sector should be able to generate 225 000 new jobs and create a direct or indirect contribution of R499 billion to gross domestic product (GDP). Currently the industry employs about 600 000 people and generates about 3% of total GDP.
The chief executive of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, David Frost, said his office had been inundated with letters of concern from international tour operators.
TBCSA said these concerns were also echoed by the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance, and the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations. The Board of Airline Representatives of Southern Africa have too expressed concern, saying that up to 20% of air travel to South Africa involved families with children.
The other concern was that the government, together with the private sector, was spending a lot of money in India and Asia in promoting the country.
Derek Hanekom, Tourism Minister said that any matter that could have a detrimental impact on international tourist arrivals was a concern. He also said the intentions behind the new laws were well understood, and the “unforeseen and unintended negative consequences, must be taken seriously”.