Alan Winde, Western Cape minister of economic opportunities, says the reasoning behind the regulations was said to be for security purposes, however, boarder security has not changed.
“All it’s doing is making it more difficult for people to get their visas. So now all we’re doing is we’re actually pushing people away,” he said.
Since the start of the season Winde says the country has already seen many travel cancellations from countries such as India and China and he expects a major decline in this year’s tourism numbers. Last year the country’s tourism sector saw an estimated 13 million tourists in the country.
The visa restrictions are affecting more than just the tourism industry.
“It’s also affecting business, the film sector and the BPO sector as well and that’s not necessarily just from the BRICS countries it’s across Africa and across the rest of the world.”
On a positive note, Winde says that a number of private sector tourism companies have met and formed a committee that will advise the minister on this matter.
Moving forward Winde says it’s important for South Africa to look at what other countries are doing and implement more innovative systems such as online applications for visas. One innovative method being adapted in Nigeria is the e-Visas or electronic Visa.