SA's tourism inc wants Home Affairs to go back to the drawing board on visa laws

The contentious issue of the new child visa regulations implemented earlier this month has South African travel and tourism business up in arms.

According to research commissioned by the Business Tourism Council, South Africa’s tourism industry lost R886 million in direct spending, during the last seven months of 2014 as a result of the tough new visa regulations.

(Also read our infographic: All you need to know: New Visa regulations)

Picture: Supplied

While the research claims that the amended to the Section 7 of the South African Immigration Act have affected the local tourism industry and the country’s Gross National Product, the Department of Home Affairs is adamant the new laws are necessary and here to stay, in an effort to prevent child trafficking.

702 presenter John Robbie spoke to Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni and CEO of the Business Tourism Council Mmatsatsi Ramawela to further understand the two positions.

Drop in figures not the fault of new child visa laws

The Home Affairs Department says there is a misconception that the decline in South Africa’s tourism figures is due to the new visa regulations. Apleni has called for a full and more in-depth assessment of the tourism industry. Apleni says that beyond economic growth, Home Affairs has an obligation to the Children's Act of 2005.

We are saying that we have got the responsibility as a country to protect our children and anybody who is in the bounds of South Africa. But at the same time, yes, we have a responsibility to make sure that we grow the economy. So we’ve had to find a balance. The key thing for us as Home Affairs is to make sure that we apply ourselves to the law.

SA tourism wasn’t consulted

Ramawela says that there was no consultative process with the tourism industry when the laws were being drafted. He advises that this is the fifth time that the standard operating procedures have changed, which is frustrating the interaction with overseas business partners – who are uninformed about the new policies.

(Also read our article: What you need to know about the law affecting traveling with children)

He says that he would like for there to be engagement between Home Affairs and the tourism industry to determine the most effective and universal way to put the law into practice.

As the tourism industry, we have never said that we are opposed to what government is doing. We appreciate and understand that the government has a tough balancing act – balancing the security needs of South Africa and of our children. But we’re asking, is an unabridged birth certificate a universal document that children have to travel with? It is not.

Not enough awareness

Ramawela adds that there is not enough awareness about the implementation of new regulations. Listener, Max called in to testify to the fact that implementing officers of the legislation do not understand the regulation themselves.

I've just returned from holiday in Aspen, Greece with my two kids. We had the joy of experiencing the new requirement. It’s basically all a farce. Nobody really knows what’s going on; you have different rules according to different officials and the people in other parts of the world don’t even know what they’re looking at.

Caller, Max on his recent travels

For ongoing news on the visa regulation debates, visit the EWN website.

Listen to the full conversation from The John Robbie Show:


This article first appeared on 702 : SA's tourism inc wants Home Affairs to go back to the drawing board on visa laws


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Major medical breakthrough: New gene pegged as cause of heart attacks in youth

Major medical breakthrough: New gene pegged as cause of heart attacks in youth

This is being called the biggest medical advancement in South African cardiology since Dr Chris Barnard's first heart transplant.

Parents urged to check tertiary institutions are legit before registering kids

Parents urged to check tertiary institutions are legit before registering kids

The Council on Higher Education says parents need to be wary of the increasing number of fly-by-night tertiary institutions.

New app to detect hearing loss

New app to detect hearing loss

University of Pretoria has developed a new app which uses a smartphone to detect hearing loss.

2016 news wrap: A look back at the stories that grabbed SA's attention

2016 news wrap: A look back at the stories that grabbed SA's attention

Barry Bateman spoke to Stephen Grootes to unpack the meaning behind the stories that dominated the headlines in 2016.

Home Affairs Director General Mkhuseli Apleni clarifies new visa regulations

Home Affairs Director General Mkhuseli Apleni clarifies new visa regulations

Following the criticism and frustration over new visa regulations, Redi Tlhabi speaks to the Director General of Home Affairs.

SA Travel Agents Predict Chaos : New VISA Regulations

SA Travel Agents Predict Chaos : New VISA Regulations

The Association of SA Travel Agents warns that travel & tourism industry expects chaos as new regulations implemented this week.

Popular articles
Why are African teams under performing in the 2018 World Cup?

Why are African teams under performing in the 2018 World Cup?

With only five teams in the World Cup, Africa's performance hasn't exactly been memorable, so what could be the problem?

[Listen] Local hero saves family from fire

[Listen] Local hero saves family from fire

A CapeTalk listener shares the story of a young man who saved a family of five from a burning house.

Woman exposed for calling fellow aircraft passengers the K-word

Woman exposed for calling fellow aircraft passengers the K-word

Reverend Solomuzi Mabuza says he is considering laying charges against the woman for calling him a ka***r.

What business is Nomgcobo Jiba doing at NPA offices?

What business is Nomgcobo Jiba doing at NPA offices?

Freedom Under Law is demanding an explanation from the NPA after Jiba was spotted at their offices, defying a court order.

Hate plastic? Grocer Nude Foods doesn’t have any of it! It’s also cheaper…

Hate plastic? Grocer Nude Foods doesn’t have any of it! It’s also cheaper…

The concept is not new, or a hipster fad. The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Nude Foods founder Paul Rubin.

Why Ethiopian Airlines (not SAA) is Africa's biggest and best airline

Why Ethiopian Airlines (not SAA) is Africa's biggest and best airline

State-owned (but not managed) Ethiopian Airlines is profitable. Bruce Whitfield interviews Africa correspondent Lee Kasumba.

Willemse will take Supersport to Equality Court over walk-out findings

Willemse will take Supersport to Equality Court over walk-out findings

On Tuesday, SuperSport released the findings of an investigation by Advocate Vincent Maleka.

You aren't legally entitled to an annual increase (and why your contract is key)

You aren't legally entitled to an annual increase (and why your contract is key)

Employment law litigator Joe Mothibi explains that an annual increase is not a given unless stated otherwise in the job contract.

Callers ask what will happen to Ashwin Willemse after MultiChoice findings

Callers ask what will happen to Ashwin Willemse after MultiChoice findings

On Tuesday SuperSport and Multichoice's said there was no evidence of racism following an investigation into the incident in May.

LISTEN: What's AfriForum's private prosecution attempt against Jiba about?

LISTEN: What's AfriForum's private prosecution attempt against Jiba about?

AfriForum's Kallie Kriel says Jiba abused her position to fabricate a case against former KZN Hawks head General Johan Booysen.