Much has been written about South Africa’s immigration laws, in particular the regulations about travelling with children, and the resultant cost to the economy.
Many readers, including this writer, will already have spent a fair amount of time and money ensuring they have all the proper documents in place, lest they be forced to cancel their school-holiday travel plans. But the details of the saga are worth repeating.
Three years ago, publications including the UK’s Financial Times (FT) were reporting about a drop in tourism arrivals dragging down what it described as a bright spot in an otherwise struggling economy.
Although the outbreak of the ebola virus in West Africa the previous year was cited as a factor, the widely held view among experts was that the tightening of visa rules was having a huge effect, with the Southern African Tourism Services Association saying the new regulations had “decimated” arrivals from China.
The FT also quoted accounting firm Grant Thornton, which estimated that the drop in tourism arrivals in the first quarter of 2015 equated to an “unprecedented” loss of 150,000 visitors.