Fedhasa discusses visas, other policies

2015-11-11 06:00

THE Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa), the voice and lobbying body for the South African hospitality industry, hosted an event where Fedhasa CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, provided an in-depth update on issues pertaining to the new visa regulations, as well as draft legislation such as the National Liquor Policy and B-BBEE tourism codes.

As South Africa is currently facing a slump brought about by the change in visa regulations, which requires potential visitors to South Africa to apply in person at an office of an embassy, or for those travelling with minors to be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate, Tshivhengwa says that “according to tourism statistics for the first quarter, our numbers have declined by 5,9% in terms of arrivals. Africa as a continent has declined by 5,6%, which means that our numbers are declining more than the continent itself.”

He continued that other countries’ arrivals, such as Thailand and Australia, are escalating.

He highlighted the fact that fewer tourists and declining occupancy rates have a ripple effect; not only hotels and guest houses are affected, but also companies that supply them with flowers, cleaning solutions and gardening, for example.

Tshivhengwa emphasised that the industry was not against the introduction of the visa biometrics. “We are against the lack of implementation,” he said.

He added that the regulations were being introduced at a time where there were other factors affecting the industry.

He concluded his address regarding the visa regulations by saying that we need to have a workable solution, and warned that in a year’s time the industry would face large-scale job losses.

Regarding the National Liquor Policy amendment, which states that liquor premises must be located at least 500 metres away from schools, places of worship, recreation facilities, rehabilitation or treatment centres, residential areas and public institutions, Tshivhengwa said that if implemented it would have a big impact, and that the problem needed to be addressed.

“One would almost have to go into the desert to get your liquor stock.

“If the problem is that people are drinking too much, we must deal with the societal issue of drinking too much, not individuals who are running legitimate businesses.”

Regarding the B-BBEE tourism codes draft, Tshivhengwa added that “we are not saying that we do not agree with it; there are certain elements within the draft codes that are just not fair to our industry”.

Fedhasa supports the current R10 million threshold proposal for eligibility as an exempted micro enterprise as set out in the generic codes; however, it is against the R2,5 million proposed threshold for micro enterprises as per the draft tourism codes.

“We would also like to see eligibility to qualify as a large enterprise in the hospitality industry to be a generic threshold of R50 million in annual total revenue, and not the proposed R35 million.”

Additionally, regarding the measurement of ownership concerning the new draft B-BBEE tourism codes, Tshivhengwa said that Fedhasa supported the current generic ownership threshold of 25% and said that the proposed 30% ownership should be revisited in 2017.

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