South Africa’s new visa regulations blamed for sharp drop in air ticketing revenue

There has been a drastic decline in air ticketing revenue for tickets purchased to South Africa since new visa regulations were implemented in the country, according to data released on Tuesday.

South African airways
South African airways

Revenue from air ticketing sales to South Africa dropped by 26 percent last year, compared with the previous year, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global organisation which aims to drive a profitable air transport industry.

South African airways
South African airways
Meanwhile, the total revenue for all air ticketing sales to South Africa dropped by 40 percent for June this year, compared with June 2014,

The figures provide further proof of the devastating impact the new visa regulations are having on the South African economy, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said in response.

Under the revised regulations implemented in mid-2014, tourists to South Africa have to apply in person for visas so that “biometric data can be reliably collected”.

On June 1 this year, another new rule took effect, requiring children crossing the borders to be with their unabridged birth certificates, in addition to their passports.

The government defends the new rules, citing security concerns and the need to combat child trafficking.
According to an impact assessment report by Grant Thornton, commissioned by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, the impact of the new visa regulations on the South African economy in 2014 was a negative 2.6 billion rand (about 186 million US dollars) and the loss of more than 5,800 jobs.

The report predicts that in 2015, the number of lost foreign tourists due to changes in the immigration regulations is likely to increase to 100,000, with a loss of 9, 300 jobs and a total net loss to the South African GDP of around 4.1 billion rand (about about 293 million dollars).

The vibrant tourism economy in the Western Cape Province alone has lost 330 million rand (about 24 million dollars) in the first quarter of 2015, indicative of a countrywide crisis meaning the tourism industry is losing growth which would translate into job losses.

The SA government must now face the fact that the country is facing a full-blown jobs crisis, said James Vos, DA Shadow Minister of Tourism.

The DA has submitted various motions calling for the suspension of these draconian travel regulations and to have them replaced with biometrics on arrival or electronic visas, a system which has proved to be very effective and safe in the countries in which they are in operation. But the government has rejected the motions.

The DA asked the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Tourism Portfolio Committee, Beatrice Ngcobo, to summon Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom to appear before the committee to clarify the progress of the inter-ministerial committee charged with reviewing the new visa regulations. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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