Ebola, economy to blame for fewer tourists

2015-07-02 22:49
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Johannesburg – The ebola virus, economic decline in some countries, and South Africa’s new immigration regulations are to blame for the drop in tourist arrivals to South Africa, Grant Thornton Advisory Services said on Monday.

About 150 000 fewer tourists visited South Africa in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year, director Lee-Anne Bac said in a statement.

The 6% percent decline was about 1 600 tourists, or four jumbo jets, per day.

Arrivals from Russia were down 47%, Brazil 34%, China 38%, and India 13%. Tourist arrivals from the UK however increased 5%.

During the first quarter of 2009, when the world was in deep recession, South Africa recorded a 2.5% drop in tourist arrivals.

“When comparing our recessional years to our current situation, it’s a big shock.”

South Africa had rarely experienced any decline in tourism arrivals since 1994. 

The new immigration regulations, which came into effect on October 1, 2014, require foreign tourists to submit biometric data when applying for a visa.

This was a fairly standard request around the world, Bac said.

“The problem with South Africa’s biometric visa legislation is that the infrastructure was not in place around the world when the law came into effect and communication around implementation and the requirements was unclear.  This caused confusion and complications in the market.”

Some markets had retaliated and South Africa was getting less marketing and brochure space in the travel advertising world.

“One can only imagine what the new birth certificate legislation will do to our arrivals in the coming months, since its implementation came into effect on 1 June this year,” she said.

Read more on:    tourism

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