To enjoy the full Mail & Guardian online experience: please upgrade your browser
04 Jun 2015 15:10
The new regulations will hurt an industry that accounts for 9% of the country’s GDP, according to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
A review panel is needed to revise the new visa regulations which came into effect this week, said Democratic Alliance MP James Vos on
“I will move a motion in the House to request a debate on the
establishment of a review panel to revise the visa regulations that are
harmful to the tourism industry, business and ordinary citizens at
large. The proposed workshop is simply not enough,” he said in a
“These regulations are problematic and the government on several occasions has tacitly recognised this.”
The regulations require tourists to apply in person at a visitor centre for travel documents, which need to be in English, and that all children must
have a birth certificate with full details of both parents.
On Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Fatima Chohan
announced, following an agreement with Wesgrow, the Western Cape
government’s investment arm, that her department would hold a workshop
to address the new regulations.
Vos said the DA was calling for a national review of the regulations
as promised by the President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation
Address in February, and later by the Home Affairs Minister, Malusi
He said that a review would help mitigate any further “brand damage and travel cancellations” which all affect the economy.
“It is now common cause both locally and internationally that the
stringent new visa regulations introduced this month do nothing to
promote tourism, economic growth and job creation in a country which
needs all three,” Vos said.
“Nothing less than a full-scale review is warranted to rescue the
tourism industry and show responsiveness to the real, legitimate
concerns of citizens about the premature and ill-conceived regulations.”
The new regulations will hurt an industry that accounts for 9% of the country’s gross domestic product,
according to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci).
“The negative implications to the tourism industry is counterproductive
to the economic development intentions we have as a country,” Sacci president
Vusi Khumalo said by phone on Monday.
Earlier, the Johannesburg-based chamber described
the law as “tantamount to economic sabotage,” in an e-mailed statement.
More than nine million tourists visit South Africa each year.
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said on May 14 the regulations are deterring tourists from travelling to South Africa. “It would be
difficult not to conclude that the visa regulations are having an impact,” he
said. “We are worried about it. We cannot sweep it under the carpet.” He did not provide figures, but the Southern Africa Tourism Services
Association, along with the Southern
African Travel Agents and the Board of Airline Representatives South
Africa, have reported that from May to December last year, the country lost 66 000 foreign tourists as a result of new regulations being introduced by
the Department of Home Affairs.
“The total direct, indirect and
induced impact on the economy in 2014 was a negative R2.6-billion and a
potential loss of more than 5 800 jobs,” they reportedly said. - African News Agency, M&G Online reporter
Create Account | Lost Your Password?