The debacle around the Department of Home Affairs introducing a requirement for foreign travellers to provide unabridged birth certificates for children, had a negative effect on the number of tourists visiting South Africa.
A restrictive visa policy also affects the growth of the tourism industry.
The government is now taking seriously the effect of this on the economy, with President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing in his State of the Nation address that the introduction of a worldclass e-visa system is a priority.
Africa Melane speaks to the CEO of the official tourism promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, Wesgro, about how tourism is impacted.
Tim Harris also explains the pilot project being introduced for New Zealand tourists, but says there isn't enough clarity yet around its implementation.
There's an acknowledgement from the government that there is a problem (around visas) and a commitment to fixing it.— Tim Harris, CEO - Wesgro
This announcement that they will be introducing it (the e-visa) for New Zealand in April is particularly welcome.— Tim Harris, CEO - Wesgro
The problem is, it's not clear from the research we've done that it's actually available yet in New Zealand... We've had numerous queries from New Zealand travellers who want to come to South Africa who're saying we've read about this system in the press and it's not actually available.— Tim Harris, CEO - Wesgro
Harris says once South Africa eases visa constraints with the implementation of an e-visa system, the positive effects for the economy are boundless.
It's an incredibly simple way to drive growth and create jobs in our county. It's very dependent more on removing regulatory constraints than anything else.— Tim Harris, CEO - Wesgro
For more details of how visa constraints have been slowing tourism, listen below: