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Published on : Sunday, May 17, 2015
Tourism minister Derek Hanekom has expressed concern about the effect of new visa regulations on the tourism industry.However, it is too early to determine its exact impact on the industry, which grew by 6.6% in 2014. This was higher than the average for most countries.
“But yes, they are impacting,” he told reporters in Cape Town before his department’s budget vote on Thursday afternoon. There has been negative growth over the past six months from countries affected by the regulations.
He said he was in discussions with Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, to try and find ways to alleviate the problem.The opposition Democratic Alliance has also expressed concern about the impact of the regulations, especially as these will become more stringent from June, when children will be required to travel with unabridged birth certificates.
“When a child denied boarding by an airline, it ultimately means that a family cannot travel. By industry estimates, the negative impact on tourist arrivals to South Africa could increase by up to 20% until traveller awareness is 100%,” said DA tourism spokesperson James Vos.