High hopes for tourist trips to SA in 2019

Hanekom said that a concerted drive would be made in 2019 to increase the number of tourists from India and China, as both countries offer huge growth prospects but had performed sluggishly in the recent past. He was positive about future trends, but warned that the 2019 national and provincial elections could put a slight damper on this.

The drought in Cape Town, and especially the doomsday warnings about “day zero” caused many tourists to stay away this year, as did the onerous requirements for unabridged birth certificates for minors travelling to SA.

“The drought affected, in quite a big way, the numbers of people coming to Cape Town, including those coming from high-sending countries mostly in Europe, such as the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and a few others. It was quite dramatic in the second half of this year,” Hanekom said.

The onerous requirements for documents for children were lifted by way of regulations published in the government gazette with effect from December 1.

The relaxation, however, only applies to foreign travellers coming to SA with children from visa-exempt countries, such as the UK, US, France, Germany, and not South Africans travelling abroad. The requirement for unabridged birth certificates will still be in place for minors travelling with adults from countries for which visas are required.

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