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Motsoaledi: Lifting visas aimed at boosting tourism

The department announced that it has relaxed visa laws for Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.

FILE: Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the move to lift visas for more countries was aimed at boosting the country’s tourism in line with creating jobs.

The department announced on Thursday that it has relaxed visa laws for Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.

Lifting visa regulations is one of the plans in President Cyril Ramaphosa's stimulus package.

Of the four countries, Qatar is the only one that also allows South Africans into the country without a visa.

Motsoaledi said: “When the president announced the stimulus package last year, it was a package of things and one of them was this issue of visas; because when you put restrictions in terms of visas, you don’t have an open tourist market and we all know tourism is the easiest way to create jobs in South Africa.”

The department said it is in talks with the remaining three countries to reciprocate and also allow South Africans to visa-free entry.

Motsoaledi said Principe and Sao Tome, Ghana and Cuba were also being engaged on this matter.

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