DA Claims: Over 13 000 Tourists Denied a Visit to South Africa Due to Unabridged Birth Certificates Rule

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The much maligned unabridged birth certificate regulation has seemingly played havoc with South Africa’s tourism industry.

The Democratic Alliance claims that 13 246 people were denied boarding to South Africa for the period June 2015 to July 2016. The party says it received data from the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) presented in the Portfolio Committee on Tourism meeting in parliament on Friday.

The DA says that, according to its figures, it means that South Africa lost out on a potential revenue of R7.51 billion (going by the figure of a tourist spending R13 000 per day on average). That might be a bit on the high side, especially since there are so many budget options available, but it’s still a sizable chunk of cash.

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The Southern African Tourism Services Association (Satsa) said earlier this month that it may be forced to take legal action against government in order to have strict laws around unabridged birth certificates scrapped.

“This once again reinforces the DA’s call to the Department of Tourism to implement e-visas, which will streamline tourist facilitation, reduce turnaround time and make visa applications safer and more reliable.

“Given that the festive season is around the corner, which brings thousands of tourists to our country, the DA will write to the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, to ask what short term measures he has in place to counter this problem,” the opposition party said in a statement.

The DA further claims that it has some serious concerns with immigration procedures at OR Tambo this month. It says that visitors have to spend between 90 minutes to four hours waiting to be processed during “peak times”.

It further states that 800 passengers missed their connecting flights as a result of the delay. Furthermore, 24 domestic flights and nine international flights were delayed as a result of the slow processing. It also claims that the immigration counters are only ever staffed at 40%.

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