Travel to SA stymied by visa issues

2014-05-09 18:10
Cape Town - “The role of destination marketers is made more difficult by governments and travel organisations that do not understand the negative effect of exorbitant visa costs and poor facilitation,” said South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima.

The issue of Visa and Travel Facilitation for Pan-African travel would form part of the first ministerial level policy dialogue to be held at Tourism Indaba 2014.

Hosted by Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, it would allow key tourism industry players a platform to discuss and debate the current state of tourism in Africa and collectively devise solutions to grow and develop tourism across the continent.

Also on the agenda are travel advisories, Airlift in Africa, Improving intra-African travel.

“Globally, visas remain a big issue for most travellers,” said Nzima in response to questions on the most recent issues experienced in two of SA’s biggest markets.  

Inbound travel from India was recently affected after a shortage of administration officials who were unable to meet the processing demand, while visas for travellers in China could not be issued due to a shortage of the required paper.

China is now the fourth largest inbound tourism market to South Africa and is said to be the fastest growing market with approximately 134 000 arrivals in 2013, according to Yet, South Africa is receiving a very small percentage when considering China has more than 80 million outbound travellers.

Nzima confirmed the issues are being dealt with via bilateral discussion with the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation but that more work in these areas was required to improve facilitation and travel to South Africa - with the Indaba discussion being a starting point for Africa travel.

Indaba 2014 will for the second year have a firm Pan-African flavour and is set to feature a total of 29 countries from across the continent including exhibitors from Uganda but excluding participation from Nigeria.

Nzima said those attending can expect a new look and feel as the event has incorporated measured change. New features will include the launch of a Heritage Pavilion to showcase South Africa’s heritage and culture tourist attractions.

While those wanting to better understand the digital landscape of tourism should check out the TechZone, where delegates can sharpened their digital abilities and listen to the unique insight from leading travel speakers. A panel discussion featuring a group of the world's leading bloggers currently being hosted by South African Tourism as part of its #meetsouthafrica campaign will also be taking place in the TechZone.

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Read more on:    durban  |  travel south africa

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