SA tourism sector, Home Affairs agree on ways to improve travel

The parties have given an update on progress made to mitigate the unintended consequences of new regulations.

Home Affairs has been highly criticised for being responsible for falling tourism numbers. Picture: Chrsta Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African tourism sector has praised the Department of Home Affairs for measures put in place to ease travel in and out of the country.

The parties have given an update on progress made to mitigate the unintended consequences of immigration regulations introduced last year.

Home Affairs has been highly criticised for being responsible for falling tourism numbers as a result of the stringent travel requirements.

The department and leaders in the sector met in November to look at remedies and agreed on a three-month timeline to implement some of them.

Director General Mkuseli Apleni says they met all their targets.

"Introducing an accredited tourism company programme for countries like China, India and Russia; a long-term multiple entry visa for a period exceeding three months and up to three years, for frequent travellers."

The Tourism Services Association's David Frost says he hopes this paves the way to a relationship between the sector and department.

"I think very good progress has been made here. What we are hearing from the director general is really striking the balance between the need for state security - which is paramount and important - but balancing that with the important economic driver that tourism is in our country."