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Xenophobic: S/Africa rolls out tough new visa regulations

South Africa on Monday rolled out tough new visa regulations
requiring children travelling into the country to carry
unabridged birth certificates, a move that industry experts
predict will badly damage the tourism sector. The revised
regulations dictate that children of all nationals and foreigners
must be accompanied by unabridged birth certificates in
addition to their passports when entering or leaving the
country.


The new regulations apply only to children travelling with one parent
and those arriving from visa-exempt countries. Government
says the measure is aimed at curbing international child
trafficking.

But the tourism industry, which contributes nine percent to the
country’s GDP and employs around 1.5 million people, said
the regulations were too cumbersome and would drive tourists
away from South Africa.


The chamber of commerce said airlines were “doing all they
can” to prepare travellers “but their efforts have been
frustrated by bureaucratic bungling.” Citing official ticketing
data, the Southern African Tourism Services Association
(SATSA) said flight bookings to South Africa this June plunged
20 percent compared to the same period last year, a fall
blamed partially on the new rules.

“Who is going to go to all this trouble to come on holiday to
South Africa?” asked David Frost, the head of SATSA. “They
would rather say let’s go to New Zealand, Mauritius or Puerto
Rico, where they are more welcome.” Home Affairs spokesman
Mayihlome Tshwete said the legislation had come into effect
without major problems.

“For the most part it’s going well, we haven’t had any issues
out of the ordinary,” Tswete said. The tourism industry is
considering taking legal action against government for loss of
business. “We have been forced into a corner and we are large
sector and we will not sit quietly in a corner and watch our
industry being destroyed by heavy handed bureaucrats.”
AFP.

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