South Africa’s department of tourism said on Monday that there will not be a review of the new visa regulations which have raised controversy for its influence on the tourism sector. Visa
However, “continuing talks about how they (regulations) should be implemented will take place,” the department said.
This has been seen as a deviation from the position of Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom who admitted last Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town that there was need to review the regulations to find the right balance as they are “hurting South Africa”.
It has prompted the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) to urge the chairperson of the Parliamentary Tourism Portfolio Committee, Beatrice Ngcobo, to summon Hanekom before the committee to explain his change on the decision.
The new stringent visa regulations, which came into effect on June 1, requires child travellers to present birth certificates, in addition to their passports.
A poll conducted last week by Britain’s The Telegraph asked “will the new rules put you off taking your child to South Africa? ” and the results came back with an alarming 61 percent opting for “yes”.
“If Minister Hanekom believes the tourism industry will not be affected then he must explain to parliament why the following indicators point to the opposite,” said James Vos, DA Shadow Minister of Tourism.
Based on the numbers in 2013, 536,000 foreign visitors could be denied travel to South Africa, threatening 1.5 million South Africans’ jobs.
Statistics South Africa’s figures for last year also show that arrivals from China, for example, dropped 24.6 percent after South Africa implemented another new visa regulation in May last year, requiring tourists to apply and collect visas in person.
The tourism industry contributes 9 percent of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and employs 1.5 million South Africans.
“Its growth and success is vital to growing our economy and creating jobs for the 36 percent of South Africans who cannot find work,” Vos said. Enditem



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