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.
The government was completely unprepared for the results of their onerous regulations that were implemented mid-2014. The tourism industry is the only industry that has managed to add hundreds of thousands of new jobs driven mainly by the private sector.
TBCSA’s latest index survey includes the impact of visa regulations. 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.
Experts on immigration control and child trafficking say the new regulations will not have an impact on illegal immigration or child trafficking.
The visa regulations have already impacted 50% of family-related travel, and are risking thousands of jobs. Sanity must prevail before the damage to this crucial sector is unable to recover.