The latest Tourism Business Index (TBI) 3rd quarter results from Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has been released and the findings are alarming. Business confidence is at a record low, with the second lowest reported since 2010, and the lowest yet this year. The drop in confidence is largely attributed to national government’s failure in responding to the tourism industry’s concerns in particular, visa regulations.“We now see that government was unprepared for the results of their onerous regulations that was implemented mid-2014. I therefore call on the Deputy President act against Department of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba’s relentless insistence to destroy one of the most important job creators in South Africa. The tourism industry is the only industry that has managed to add hundreds of thousands of new jobs driven mainly by the private sector,” says Beverley Schäfer, DA Western Cape spokesperson on economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture. TBCSA’s latest index survey includes the impact of visa regulations, and the results speak loud and clear. Almost 49% of the respondents in the index state that the introduction of unabridged birth certificates is having a negative impact on travel with more than half of the respondents having experienced a negative impact due to the required in person collection of biometric data.
While experts on immigration control and child trafficking say the new regulations will not have an impact on illegal immigration or child trafficking, Gigaba refuses to acknowledge the truth. His conflict with the industry and with Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, makes it impossible to know where the administration really stand on the issue.“The visa regulations have already destroyed 50% of family related travel, and risks destroying thousands of jobs. Sanity must prevail before the damage to this crucial sector is unable to recover. I call upon Ramaphosa to listen to the experts in this field and put an immediate stop to these mad regulations,” adds Schäfer. Issued on behalf of Beverley Schäfer, DA Western Cape spokesperson on economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture.