Cape Town - New visa rules introduced in South Africa to combat child trafficking are seriously affecting family travel, according to the latest figures from ForwardKeys, which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million reservation transactions each day.
The data shows that international family arrivals have been growing by 1.8% compared with the same period last year. But since the introduction of the visa restrictions on June 1 2015, family arrivals have fallen 10%.
The new rules require that any child arriving in South Africa must carry an unabridged birth certificate, or have submitted this earlier when applying for a visa.
The ForwardKeys analysis shows a negative effect on family travel to South Africa from a wide range of countries, most notably France, down 29%, Sweden, down 29%, the US down 18% and Germany, down 16%.
“Our data provides strong evidence of the negative impact the new rules are having on this important market segment in South Africa. The restrictions are hitting travel from countries around the world,” explained Olivier Jager, co-founder and CEO of ForwardKeys.
“The family segment was growing at 1.8% before the new requirements were introduced, unlike other segments, which were falling.”
Jager said there is concern among tourism industry leaders about the current situation – an issue likely to be discussed at the World Routes conference taking place in Durban from September 19 to 22 2015.
Olivier, who will be attending the conference, said the effects of this new visa development are still emerging and FowardKeys will continue to monitor the situation in South Africa to see how it develops further.
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