South African Tourism Industry Welcomes U-Turn On Visa regulations

South African Tourism Industry Welcomes U-Turn On Visa regulations

From Telegraph Travel

South Africa is beginning to reverse a number of controversial and unpopular visa regulations introduced earlier this year after pressure from its own tourism industry.

The rules brought into effect in June meant anyone arriving in the country in the company of a child had to prove parenthood or guardianship – by way of an “unabridged” birth certificate – while lone adults flying in with their offspring had to show they had the consent of their non-travelling partner.

Designed to tackle child trafficking, the rules came under heavy criticism from tourism groups within and outside of South Africa. Reports this year from the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) showed that confidence in the travel industry was at its lowest since 2010, and that the number of overseas visitors had already started to fall. It expected the country to lose 100,000 visitors over 2015 at a cost of 1,4billion rand (£66million).

In response, the department of tourism has announced a number of concessions to the regulations.

Travellers with children will now have details printed in their youngsters’ passports so parents will not be required to carry birth certificates. The carrying of parental consent from a non-travelling partner is now no longer mandatory but instead “strongly advised”.

The government is also reconsidering rules introduced in 2014 that meant all visa applications must be made in person at a South African mission, making it particularly difficult for tourists in the likes of Russia, India and China to apply for entry. South Africa is now accepting applications via post from countries where no missions exist, and is looking to allow travel companies in certain countries to process visa applications.

Read more at Telegraph Travel