S. Africa to Review Controversial Travel Rules

S. Africa to Review Controversial Travel Rules
S. Africa to Review Controversial Travel Rules

South Africa’s government is reviewing its new travel rules for minors after signs that they are already hurting the key tourist sector, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Tourism has become the fastest-growing industry for Africa’s most advanced but ailing economy, with arrivals soaring after South Africa successfully hosted the 2010 soccer World Cup.

“Negative effects are being reported by tour operators and airlines which have taken the form of cancellations,” Hanekom told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Africa in Cape Town.

“Air China is reconsidering flights to South Africa (and) one of their reasons was the visa requirements.”

The new rules, implemented at the start of the month, require minors travelling with both parents to have an unabridged birth certificate with full details of both parents as well as a passport, visa and other documents.

The Department of Home Affairs says the requirements are aimed at helping prevent child trafficking, but Hanekom said the rule were undermining tourism, which contributes nearly a tenth to South Africa’s GDP.

“We need to review the regulations to find the right balance,” Hanekom said.

Pretoria postponed implementing the new rules last year after an outcry by tour firms who warned the proposed regulations would harm the sector.