Tag: tourism

SA to get e-visas by March 2019

By Nic Andersen for The South African

Sick of all the paperwork every time you travel to South Africa? Well, e-visas could soon make things a whole lot easier.

The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that phase one of a rollout of electronic visas (e-visas) will begin on 31 March 2019.

While some of the final details are still up in the air, a parliamentary reply from Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba has revealed more about what travellers can expect.

What exactly is an e-visa?
While we’re sure some foreign nationals had hope regarding being free of paperwork, Gigaba says some will still be involved.

“E-visa introduces online capture of visa and permit applications and capturing of applicant’s biometrics in South Africa and abroad. An application will be captured and submitted online together with the required supporting documents that will be scanned and attached to the application. The applicant will then present himself/herself before a DHA Official for biometric enrollment and verification of the supporting documents.”

Following the verification of those documents, all the relevant forms are electronically routed to the Home Affairs head office in Pretoria for adjudication. For an approved visa/permit, a secure QR-Code is generated for print on the notification notice/letter sent to the applicant. This QR-Code contains the approved visa/permit detail and is maintained and managed by DHA at a “secure web-storage facility”.

That very same QR-Code will then be scanned upon arrival here in SA.

The e-visa rollout plan
Beginning with what the department is calling “Phase one, release one”, applications for temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas and applications for waivers will be done through the new system.

The rollout of phase one of the e-visa system will be at a foreign mission, embassy or local Home Affairs office yet to be determined.

“This is to ensure system stability. Once table, more offices locally and abroad can then be gradually brought online,” Gigaba said

According to DA Shadow Minister of Tourism James Vos, these modern-day visas will have big positives for the tourism industry.

“Electronic visas will boost the tourism industry by cutting turnaround times for the issuing of travel documentation while ensuring the information of applicants is secure.”

“Most importantly, improved tourist arrivals will facilitate more job growth in the industry while guaranteeing job security for 1,4 million South Africans already working in the tourism industry.”

The new system could see tourists flocking to SA in larger numbers than before.

South Africans rake in Airbnb profits

Airbnb has proved a lifesaver to many South African women hosts, giving an especially welcome financial boost to single mothers, according to latest statistics released by the hotel and guest lodge booking platform.

In the report Across the BRICS: How Airbnb connects the emerging economies, the platform detailed how the service contributed towards GDP in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“South Africa has seen the strongest growth in guest arrivals from BRICS nations at 380%, with explosive year-over-year growth in guests arriving from Brazil, by a factor of nine. South African hosts’ total income earned from BRICS-based guests ranks the highest of the five countries at $1.88m (about R24.3m),” the report read.

“The typical woman host in South Africa earned nearly $2 000 (R25 917.10) last year, more income than earned by the typical women hosts in other countries. More than 60% of women hosts in South Africa are Superhosts – hosts who are specially designated by Airbnb as hosting guests frequently, receiving a high number of five-star reviews, and being exceptionally responsive to guests and committed to reservations with 60% of South African women hosts with children, i.e., single mothers, use (sic) their Airbnb income to help them stay in their homes,” it said.

About 5.3 million Airbnb users from developing nations generated more than $467m over the past year, according to latest statistics released by the app.

The year-on-year growth rate of intra-BRICS  guest arrivals was reported at 134%, according to the study.

With interest in travel and tourism on the rise, reaching 10% of global GDP in 2017, Airbnb allows BRICS countries to benefit in their share of the income, said the report.

Airbnb is an online marketplace and hospitality service that helps people lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms with 97% of the listing price going directly to hosts.

By Kyle Venktess for Fin24

Tourism statistics take a dive

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 utter failure in responding to the tourism industry’s concerns in particular, visa regulations.

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