New reports prove disastrous i

New reports prove disastrous impact of visa regulations

The latest trends in global travel numbers are clearly demonstrating the disastrous impact of South Africa’s visa regulations on our tourism sector.

New reports prove disastrous i

Two reports released this week, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO)Tourism Highlights 2015 Edition and Statistics South Africa’s Tourism Migration: February 2015, provide clear evidence that we are closing the doors to tourists.

The UNTWO report included the following statistics:

  • China is the world’s top spender in international tourism. Chinese tourists spent US$165 billion during overseas trips in 2014, a 27% increase from 2013;
  • International tourist arrivals to Africa increased by two percent and by three percent to Sub-Saharan Africa. In contrast, arrivals to South Africa were flat.

Stats SA’s Tourism Migration report highlighting the following:

  • In February 2015, 1 133 411 foreign tourists arrived at South Africa’s ports of entry.
  • In February 2014, 11 457 Chinese tourists visited South Africa, compared to 7 748 in February 2015
  • Between February 2014 and February 2015, arrivals from India fell from 6 707 to 4 989
  • Over the same period, arrivals from Argentina decreased from 1 698 to 422.
  • Figures show 3 245 Brazilian tourists arrived in South Africa in February 2014, compared with 2260 in February 2015

Destinations across the world are paying attention to these numbers.

Australia has just announced a 10-year multiple entry visa for Chinese visitors.

China’s Southern Airlines is also set to launch direct flights to Kenya in August.

In South Africa, Air China postponed the launch of direct flights to our destination. A move caused, in part, by our onerous visa regulations.

Put simply, we have deliberately excluded ourselves from this massive opportunity.

In his budget speech earlier this year, National Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom stated the target of attracting 12 million international tourists arrivals to South Africa by 2018.

In the Western Cape, just over 200 000 residents are employed in formal jobs in the sector. Under project Khulisa, we have the aspirational goal of adding up to a further 100 000 jobs in the sector.

The goals we have set for the tourism sector are being threatened by the new visa regulations.

Independent research has found that the new regulations could cost the South African economy up to R10 billion in lost income and over 21 000 jobs.

National Cabinet announced that Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will head an inter-ministerial team to look into objections against the regulations. There’s one fatal flaw, this amounts to the Minister investigating himself. Instead, he should simply look at the numbers and listen to the industry.

These visa regulations are destroying opportunities. They are killing hope.

Source: Western Cape Government
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