South Africa’s tourism business index plunges to its lowest level since 2011, as the number of visitors to the country, declines due to the new visa rules and regulations.
The decline is mainly attributed to the new visa regulations that South Africa recently introduced, making it difficult for international tourists, in particular, those travelling with minor children under 18 years of age.
The latest tourism business index shows a decrease of 16.3 index points from the first quarter of this year, also hitting a four year low since 2011.
Since the introduction of new visa regulations which require anyone travelling to and from South Africa should present birth certificate for the minor children less than 18 years of age at the entry port in South Africa with passport and visa.
The recently introduced visa regulations are mainly to curb human and child trafficking while improving border safety and security by the South African ministry of tourism. On the other hand, some South African think tanks also proposed to lessen the regulations for the visitors from BRICS countries.
In addition to the tourism woes, the new requirement is that international visitors should apply in person to record biometric information through their fingerprints.
The tourism sector in South Africa contributes at least 3 percent to its economy, providing employment to around 1.5 million people.
With the introduction of new rules, South Africa lost 150 thousand international tourists and 128 million USD in this year first quarter compared to the first quarter of last year.
International visitors from the top 11 out of 12 countries visiting South Africa had declined, with the only Philippines remain unchanged. China, India, Nigeria, Taiwan, Ghana, South Korea and Russia are the six source countries experienced steep fall.