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:
Stats SA’s Tourism Migration report highlighting the following:
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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