Is SA missing out because of regulations?

2015-07-29 06:00

STATISTICS SA has revealed a six percent decline in foreign tourists to our country. Six percent translates to 150 000 fewer tourists, compared with the same period last year.

One of the reasons attributed for the decline is the implementation of South Africa’s new immigration regulations in respect of the unabridged children’s birth certificate. Although it is a step in the right direction to eliminate child trafficking, it also serves as a deterrent to single parents who travel with their children.

According to a report by Grant Thornton, the loss of revenue to South Africa is R1,6 billion. Travel agencies have also reported a decline in people leaving the country to go on holiday.

The effectiveness of South African immigration regulations is proving to be a disadvantage to the South African economy. It has to be monitored very closely. Could it be a case of tourists visiting Africa, but giving South Africa a miss because of its new regulations.

Tourism brings into the country foreign exchange and it creates employment. With the unemployment rate in South Africa at approximately 25,3%, job shedding, due to declining tourists, will be devastating for our economy.

A clearer picture will unfold over the next few months.

The determining factor from a South African perspective will be on how to balance the effects of child trafficking with the decline of tourists if this trend continues.

Will there be a balancing act or will the new immigration law be repealed? Only time can answer this question.

VIJAY SURUJPAL

Via email

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