Wesgro says the amendments will have a noticeable and positive impact on tourism, trade and investment in the Western Cape and South Africa for a number of reasons. As Cape Town and the Western Cape’s Official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency it plans to host a visa stakeholder engagement – to allow for the details of the amendments to be elaborated upon for Western Cape businesses and to provide support for the implementation of these changes.
- Increasing the number of countries that will be visa exempt, particularly the Middle East, will help unlock new tourism markets for our province and country, helping boost visitor numbers;
- The implementation of 3 to 10 year multiple visas especially for China and India is critical for the growth of our economy, with China boasting the 2nd largest economy in the world and the biggest tourism spend globally, and India ranked the 7th largest economy with a rapidly growing tourism spend – ranked 17th according to UNWTO;
- Waiving the requirement for visa applications to be made in person in India and China will significantly increase ease of travel – travellers wishing to visit South Africa currently have to apply in person often having to travel great distances to the very few visa application stations in these large countries;
- Relaxation of documentary requirements for minors travelling with foreign nationals – the strict requirements for parental consent and unabridged birth certificates caused major upsets for bona fide travellers visiting South Africa with children;
- The review of the critical skills list and offer of permanent residence for foreign students studying critical skills degrees is an important measure to ensure that South Africa remains a strong contender in the global skills economy, and potentially a big boost for our universities and tertiary education institutions;
- Steps announced to ease congestion at ports of entry particularly land ports could have a significant impact on South Africa’s trade with the rest of Africa and ease of doing business on the continent; and, implementation of e-visas and e-gates will ease congestion and enhance efficiency at boarders, making South Africa a more attractive destination to visit and do business with.