South Africa’s travel and tourism industry performed significantly lower in the second quarter of this year with an index score of 83.6 compared to the expected performance score of 97.3, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) said on Monday.

This represents the lowest performance since the third quarter of 2011, when the industry registered an index score of 70, according to the council’s Tourism Business Index (TBI).

A score of 100 index points represents a normal trading level and is defined as the level of acceptable business performance in line with the long term index average.

As expected, xenophobia, the Ebola virus as well as the new visa regulations with regards to biometrics and unabridged birth certificates topped the list of key factors contributing to the drop in performance last quarter, the council said.

Of those surveyed, 16.9 percent cited negative impact as a result of the xenophobic attacks, 30 percent percent were affected negatively by the Ebola outbreak and 23.5 percent experienced a negative impact due to the new visa regulations.
The TBI, which tracks performance in South Africa’s tourism sector, has been running since 2010.

Under the new visa regulations implemented in mid-2014, tourists to South Africa will have to apply in person for visas to visit the country so that biometric data can be reliably collected.

On June 1 this year, another new regulation took effect, requiring parents and guardians travelling with minors to produce unabridged birth certificates that shows the names of both parents.

South Africa is likely to lose an estimated 1.4 billion rand (about 1.1 billion US dollars) of tourism revenue in 2015, according to a recent study by the TBCSA.

The study estimates that the number of tourists will decline by 100, 000 this year, following a 66,000 decline in 2014.
The study blames the changes in visa regulations for the negative impact on tourism. Enditem


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