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Home Affairs hopes to further ease visa requirements

Official said the department has given itself a year to introduce further measures to ease travel to SA.

Home Affairs.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

PRETORIA - The Home Affairs department said it hopes to further ease visa requirements to facilitate travel into South Africa within the next year.

The department met with the Southern African Tourism Services Association (Satsa) in Pretoria yesterday.

The association, which has been highly critical of the department because of restrictive regulations, has welcomed measures already put in place.

Director General Mkuseli Apleni said the department has given itself a year to introduce further measures to ease travel to South Africa.

"Add visa facilitation centres including Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates and Botswana. Consider a visa waiver for India, China, Russia and other countries.

Satsa's David Frost said, "What we're hearing from the DG is really striking that balance between need for state security which is paramount and important but balancing that with the important economic drive that tourism is."

Frost said this engagement has created a good relationship between the sector and government.

The tourism sector said changes made to immigration regulations will allow for ease of travel for people coming into South Africa.

Frost said Home Affairs' interventions, like introducing long-term entry visas and extending the validity of parental consent affidavits, reduce the burden on tourists.

"What you seeing here is a whole lot of really well-thought-out art and very tactical measures that are going to allow for the ease of travel for people coming into that country."

Apleni said they hope to introduce further measures in the next year.

"Looking at issuing visa on arrival for persons traveling to South African, having in their passport, valid visa for UK, USA and Canada or any other country."

He said the department is working closely with the tourism sector.

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