Source: Tessa Reed
As many as 80 100 jobs could be lost as a result of the requirement that people travelling to South Africa on a visa need to apply for these visas in person.
This is based on research compiled by consultancy firm Grant Thornton in July that was commissioned by the TBCSA. The report has not been released, but Tourism Update has obtained a copy.
According to the report, the requirement could cost R7,4bn in direct tourism spend, while R36,7bn could be lost in terms of GDP. This is calculated based on previous arrivals from countries that require a visa to SA and assumes 30% of these visitors will choose an alternative destination to SA as a result of having to appear in person for a visa.
Meanwhile, members of the trade have reported that bookings from countries affected by the regulations are already down between 80%and 90% (See an in depth report in the November issue of Tourism Update), suggesting the lost revenue and jobs could be far greater.
The report looks at the arrivals of 15 key countries for which SA requires tourists to have visas.
“Many of these are important African markets, which, given the GDP growth and intra-regional trade growth on the continent, are key current and future markets for South Africa. Two other very critical current and future generating markets for tourists to South Africa for whom we require visas are China and India,” the report states.
According to the report, arrivals from these 15 countries totaled 562 000. China, India, Nigeria and Angola generated 72% of these visa arrivals in 2013. “The number of arrivals from these 14 countries has almost doubled in five years, with Chinese arrivals increasing more than four-fold and Indian arrivals doubling in the period.”
The reports states given the importance of China and India markets, a number of countries around the world are adjusting their visa and biometric visa requirements to facilitate tourism from these markets.
The report further states that the requirement that travellers apply for visas in person “will be extremely impractical if not impossible” for many would-be tourists because of access to foreign missions. “In large countries in particular, including key markets such as India, China and Nigeria, the limited number of processing centres will necessitate long and costly time and travel commitments well in advance for potential travellers to organise visas in preparation for their planned travel to South Africa.”
The example is used of a couple travelling from Hainan in China, who would need to pay R17 714 to apply for a visa because of the travelling costs involved, whereas a 10 day package to SA retails at R9 995 per person. “The visa requirements almost double the holiday costs.”
The full report can be accessed here.