Growth in tourism sector undermined by S.Africa's new visa laws


However, this positive development is now under threat following the enactment of new visa regulations by the Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba.

(WATCH VIDEO: New visa regulations for S.Africa)

According to the country’s Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, South Africa’s visa and immigration regulations might have negative effects on the tourism sector which last year saw 13 million tourists visiting the country.


Thulani Nzima, the chief executive officer of SA Tourism says his sector has in the recent past seen good growth.

“The tourism sector has performed very well. In the past few years we have started comparing ourselves with sectors like mining and agriculture in terms of job creation,” said Nzima.

“If you look at the numbers between 2012 and last year, the tourism sector produced three per cent in terms of the contribution to the jobs industry and to the economy and about 4.6 per cent to the economy,” he added.

Gillian Saunders, the principal and head at Grant Thornton Johannesburg noted that growth in the tourism sector has trickle down effects to other sectors such as accommodation as more people were visiting South Africa for holidays.

“There is a strong growth in the numbers as the industry is performing very well. The accommodation sector is experiencing good business levels due to this growth,” said Saunders.

“The outlook for next year is fairly positive for the second quarter in a row which is the first two consecutive quarters of positive annual outlooks since we have launched index in 2010.”

Saunders commenting on the effects of new visa regulations especially to the tourism sector noted that this new regime would have adverse effects though Gigaba argues that the new regulations will facilitate investment.

(READ MORE: Migration regulations to facilitate investment in S.Africa)

“We are still doing calculations on the numbers, but we think the new visa regulations will be damaging to the tourism sector hence, a need to balance between securities in the country with promoting tourism.”