South Africa to ease visa norms to boost tourism

In a bid to boost its tourism sector, South Africa is looking to ease visa norms, which were tightened 18 months ago in 2014.

The government's Department of Home Affairs is looking at granting visas on arrival for tourists who already have visas for travel to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or other countries where stringent security checks are applicable.

This change comes 18 months after the department hiked the number of regulations required to grant a visa, in a bid to ensure the nation's security. However, after criticism from tour operators and a report from the tourism industry estimating that new regulations caused a loss to the nation's exchequer of 7.5 billion rand or $473 million USD last year, the government is considering easing many of these requirements. David Frost, chief executive officer of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, said, "The government is striking the balance between the need for state security, which is paramount and important and balancing that with the important economic driver that tourism is in our country. We’re finally now beginning to work together. Hopefully we’ll be able to finally establish a proper task team to work together to solve blockages.”

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Source: Digital Journal