Tourism in SA yet to recover from stringent visa regulations

Published on : Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tourism in SA yet to recoverTourism 2016 report released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) this week showed that although there was a strong recovery last year due to the weak rand, which made holiday in South Africa very cheap for overseas tourists, the country is yet to recoil from the imposition of more stringent visa requirements.


The tourism report this year was released in mid July, more than three months later than last year’s report.


New visa regulations from October 2014 that required an in-person visit for biometric data to South African consulates for visitors from non-visa exempt countries such as China, Russia and India had an impact. However, there were other factors impacting visitor numbers.


The visa requirements were relaxed and the capacity to process them was improved in 2015 and 2016 for mitigating the effects on the tourism industry. Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If a visitor arrives without a visa, immigration officials are obliged to put the visitor onto a flight back to the country of origin.


Tourism South Africa has tied up with the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), under which more than 1,500 front-line agents are being trained to promote South Africa in India.


Although Russian tourist arrivals grew by 14.7 percent in 2016, they remain 38.1 percent below the 2013 level.


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