South African immigration agencies and tour operators have been anxiously waiting for the relaxation of the new immigration laws which were introduced last year.
South Africa has lost 540 Million Dollars in revenue last year. Most immigration agencies believe this is related to the stringent visa requirements introduced in South Africa. In order to travel to South Africa, citizens of countries like China for instance have to travel to the next South African mission in person in order to apply for a visa.
How does Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gibaba, who introduced the new visa regulations, feel about the drop in tourism numbers and does he take responsibility?
Conveniently the drop in visitor numbers coincided with the spread of the Ebola Virus in Africa.
Malusi Gigaba told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting between South Africa’s President Jacob Zumathe and Chinese President Xi Jinping:
“The drop happened at a time when there was an Ebola outbreak on the African continent. To blame the drop in tourism numbers on visa requirements is lazy,”
Gigaba further added:
“We never made a mistake, that’s why we didn’t change the regulations. We changed the specifications.”
The relaxation of South Africa’s visa regulations has been mentioned for the first time in October 2015, but immmigration agencies across South Africa are still advising foreigners to carry birth certificates and apply for South African visas in person at missions overseas.
Read more at Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-safrica-visa-idUSKBN0TL1TX20151202#U88Ec1JTWM58kYGt.99
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