South Africa has scrapped visa requirements for various countries to make travel easier and boost inbound tourism.
In 2017, in what was considered a tit-for-tat move, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs applied visa restrictions to citizens of New Zealand. Operators at the time raised concerns that this would mean a significant drop in visitors.
These concerns were founded when Stats SA’s arrival numbers showed that between 2017 and 2018 visitor numbers from New Zealand dropped by 11%. The trend continued into 2019.
New Zealand, among other countries, has now been added to SA’s list of visa-free countries. The changes were announced by Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Home Affairs, at the Budget Vote 2019.
The other countries include:
- United Arab Emirates
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- Sao Tome and Principe
Motsoaledi also announced that Home Affairs would increase the number of staff working for the department by “two and a half times” to process visas in both China and India.
The South African tourism industry applauded the good news at the Satsa (Southern African Tourism Services Association) conference, which is currently being held at the Wild Coast Sun in Kwazulu Natal.
David Frost, CEO of Satsa speaking at the 2019 Conferenece, told Tourism Update that it welcomes the visa waiver announcement. “We have toiled tirelessly to get these absolute no-brainers removed as barriers. We commend the Minister of Home Affairs and his team, we look forward to working with them in terms of other liberalisations for ease of access. We are particularly encouraged by the additional capacity at Home Affairs. We may even urge it to offer more capacity, because it’s the single biggest stumbling block to our growth in both India and China.”