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E-Visa programme is not ready - Tourism Business Council SA

17 February 2021 9:59 AM
Tags:
Tourism
visas
E-visa

CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa says SA should have bought a system that is off the shelf and already working for other countries.

During President Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address last week, there seemed to be some hope regarding e-visas.

Currently, travelers have to make their way to the nearest major city with a SA mission to apply in person, so e-visas would make it far easier for billions to visit South Africa than before.

But is this really happening?

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO at Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), talks to Refilwe Moloto about the roadblocks experienced in getting e-viss off the ground.

The President did mention the e-visa at the State of the Nation Address but it was first mentioned in 2019.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

At that time he says TMCSA had submitted a proposal arguing how e-visas would boost tourism especially visitors from countries such as India and China who have restrictive visa processing capacity.

So, the e-visa has been in the making for the past two years and it will be something that will help us recover from the pandemic as a tourism industry.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

Government says it is being piloted.

We believe that it is taking too long. We should have bought a system that is off the shelf, that is already working for other countries, and we should have used a plug-and-play model and been a lot further than we are at the moment.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

When tourism picks up there should be a robust e-visa system he says.

What has been implemented thus far, asks Refilwe?

We don't have anything so far that we can go to market with.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

A system has been piloted in Kenya, but that was a year ago, he says, and there have been no results received since then.

From what we have been shown, it may not be a worldwide e-visa. It may be a visa application platform where the adjudication will still be done by a person.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

When applying to e-visa systems in other counties prospective travelers get a visa within a few hours if not within minutes, he adds.

The plans made two years ago by the South African government are already out of date, suggests Tshivengwa.

We should realise that the world has changed....we need to be building in the whole vaccine passport into the visa system.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

It needs to be agile. it needs to be responsive, and it should be able to do what we want it to do going forward

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

He says TBCSA has met with the Department of Home Affairs to discuss the system.

It has to be something that is world-class.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

We have nothing to talk about at the moment and hopefully, we will get the system approved and implemented in the next few months.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO - Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA)

He says TBCSA remains confident that the e-visa system will be implemented soon.

Listen to the interview in the audio below:




17 February 2021 9:59 AM
Tags:
Tourism
visas
E-visa

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