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Home affairs defends SA tourism drop

Travel bodies have reported a massive drop in air ticket sales, but Home Affairs says this is not its fault.

The Home Affairs Department says there is a misconception that a drop in South Africa's tourism figures is due to the new visa regulations. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - The Home Affairs Department says there is a misconception that a drop in South Africa's tourism figures is due to the new visa regulations.

Director General Mkuseli Apleni was responding to the implementation of the new regulations, which require minors to carry an unabridged birth certificate and visitors from some countries to undergo biometric testing.

Travel bodies have reported a massive drop in air ticket sales but Home Affairs says this is not its fault.

Apleni says an analysis of arrival patterns in South Africa has revealed that critics of the new visa regulations are exaggerating the effect of the new rules.

He says it's unfair and convenient for the regulations to be blamed while other factors such as the recent spate of xenophobic attacks as well as the Ebola outbreak on the continent could also have scared visitors away.

Apleni is adamant that the new rules are not a failure and will not be changed.

He's called for a full and more in-depth assessment by critics.