A visa regulation introduced in 2015 which blocks travellers who do not carry an unabridged birth certificate for their children, prevented more than 13,000 tourists from entering South Africa – costing the wider economy billions in lost revenue.
This is according to DA shadow minister of tourism, James Vos, citing data from the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), which showed that 13,246 people were denied entry into the country between June 2015 and July 2016 because of the contentious rule.
The average tourist spends around R13,000 per day in South Africa, TBCSA said, meaning that potential revenue of around R7.51 billion was lost because of the regulation.
The onerous visa rule was set for a change in February 2016, with proposed amendments allowing for parents to have their child’s identity included in their ID documentations – removing the need to travel with a birth certificate.
However, these rules have yet to be changed. For now, inbound travellers are still required to have original birth certificates – copies of which must submitted during the visa application process.
The regulations were initially introduced under the banner of clamping down on child trafficking in South Africa.
The DA said it would address the matter in Parliament this week, while pushing for the introduction of an e-visa system, where potential tourists could submit necessary documentation well in advance.