p S Africa announces visa waivers to boost tourism | 2019-08-16

S Africa announces visa waivers to boost tourism

16 August, 2019 12:00 AM printer

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa on Thursday announced visa waivers for four countries in a bid to boost tourism amid an economic crisis and falling visitor numbers, reports AFP.

Visitors from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand will no longer require a visa to visit for holiday, conferencing and business purposes, Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said.

The unilateral decision comes as official tourism figures released in May reflected a dip in the overall number of visitors to South Africa from Europe and the Middle East in the first financial quarter of the year, normally one of the most popular times to visit.

Foreign traveller arrivals decreased by more than 10 percent between April and May 2019 alone.

Motsoaledi said the South African government was engaging with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand about a similar relaxation of entry requirements for SA citizens.

He argued the move by his department would boost tourism “and by extension growing the economy and creating jobs”.

South Africa’s economy has hit trouble, with gross domestic product (GDP) contracting by 3.2 percent in the first three months of 2019 and unemployment at a record high of 29 percent.


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