South Africa drops visa rules to boost tourism
South Africa says it is relaxing controversial travel rules that many believe have damaged the country’s vital tourism industry.
The government – anxious to revive a struggling economy – says foreign families will no longer have to produce their children’s birth certificates.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said the changes would be introduced in time for the December holidays.
For the past four years, tourists trying to get into South Africa have been wrestling with an elaborate maze of red tape.
The same for South African families trying to travel abroad.
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Passports were no longer enough. Children needed to produce their unabridged birth certificates. Both parents had to consent – in writing - to any travel.
The authorities here insisted they were fighting child trafficking.
But their data was dubious and the travel and tourism industries said the rules – and other visa restrictions - were destroying jobs and profits.
Now, with the economy sliding into a recession, South Africa’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa, has ordered a rethink in order to boost tourism.
That means more visas on arrival.