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New Visa Regulations of SA are Turning away International Visitors

 

BB News International Reporter I

 

The business index of South African tourism is at an all-time low since 2011 because the numbers of visitors have declined due to the new visa regulations of the country. The new visa regulations make it difficult for the international visitors, especially those who are travelling with minors who are under the age of 15, to gain entry into the country itself. The latest index score, which presents a decrease of 16.3 index points from the first quarter of 2015, additionally hit a four-year low for the year 2011. This index is created by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.

The International Tourism sector in South Africa

 

The tourism sector of South Africa, which contributes nearly 3% of the total GDP of the country and employs nearly 1.5 million individuals, is performing below expectations because of the new visa regulations which prevent the entry of international visitors to the country. As per the new visa regulations, any individual who is travelling with a minor under the age of 18 is required to show an unabridged birth certificate at South Africa’s entry port on top of the normal passport and visa being shown.

 

Additionally, international visitors also need to apply for a South African visa in person so that the biometric information of the individual, which is obtained via fingerprints, is reliably collected. Via the use of biometric information for visa applications is quite a common practice, however, in the case of South Africa, there are very few visa processing centers in foreign countries and are quite far from the residence place of international visa applicants.

The sign of declination

Grant Thornton which is a consulting and advisory firm presented a study on the impact of the new visa regulations of South Africa on the tourism sector. The result of this study showed that in comparison to the first quarter of 2014, during the first quarter of 2015, South Africa lost nearly 150,000 international tourists and nearly $128 million as a result of direct expenses. Due to the new visa regulations, South Africa is losing from countries like India, China, Taiwan, Nigeria, South Korea, Ghana and Russia. These countries were once the few countries that resulted in the greatest number of tourists who visited South Africa.

Additionally, visitors from 11 of the 12 tourist hotspots showed signs of decline. Only Philippines showed no signs of decline in tourism as the number of international visitors who visited the country remain unchanged.

 

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