TORONTO – The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism, is commending the government of South Africa for adopting measures that will help alleviate the consequences of controversial visa regulations.
In the next three months, medical travellers and visitors from countries that have no South African mission can apply for a visa by post rather than having to appear in person at centres to apply for a visa. In this same period, the government will also start collecting biometrics at the port of entry. After three months to a year, South Africa will expand the number of visa facilitation centres in key countries, and after a year it will move towards a pre-flight biometrics checking system at international airports.
In other good news, foreign travellers under 18 no longer have to carry copies of unabridged birth certificates. South African minors must continue to bring a certificate when they travel, though the name has changed to a “birth certificate containing parental details” to avoid confusion. This certificate can be printed in passports, which means that parents no longer need to carry birth certificates on them. These changes will be implemented within the new three months to a year.
“WTTC is extremely pleased that the South African government has decided to adopt new visa policies that ensure a smoother visa application process for business and leisure travellers that are looking to visit this great destination,” said David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC. “We commend the government, specifically Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, for its quick response to address the dropping visitor arrivals figures. The change in the country’s visa policies are necessary for the country to continue to grow its Travel & Tourism sector and meet its forecast Travel & Tourism GDP.”