SA can recover quickly says Tourism Minister

While the immigration regulations put an undoubted strain on South Africa’s tourism industry, it can recover more quickly than most may expect. This is the belief of Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, who spoke to Tourism Update on the sidelines of Air China’s inaugural flight to Johannesburg on Friday, October 30.

“While the regulations did have an effect on South Africa’s tourism numbers, we cannot underestimate the work of the Department of Home Affairs,” Hanekom said. “If Home Affairs and the Department of Tourism can work together, South Africa can soar as a tourist destination, and I believe the compromise we reached in terms of the regulations showed us that.”

The recovery of the tourism sector will, however, depend on how quickly the changes to the regulations are implemented, Hanekom said. “The sooner the changes are put in place, the sooner we can start working to restore our image,” he said. “For instance, we had fewer Chinese travellers visiting South Africa this year compared with recent years but now that they can go back to applying for visas via an accredited travel agent, it makes it easier for them to visit us,” he said.

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