Despite a promise in October that the major impediments to tourism created by the notorious Visa Regulations would be addressed within three months, little progress appears to have been made. Continue reading →
Despite the weaker Rand, international tourist arrivals have not increased dramatically as one would have expected. Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has encouraged locals, Continue reading →
The year is coming to a close, and has seen a major change, in that we sold all our guest houses, to create a new beginning Continue reading →
Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, whose portfolio includes Tourism, has described the Tourism season lying ahead as ‘phenomenal‘. He has welcomed tourists visiting our province.
Since October the hospitality industry has improved dramatically, Continue reading →
More than a year since the introduction of the first onerous Visa Regulations in June last year, an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced changes to the regulations, tremendous news for the Tourism industry.
The new improved revised Visa regulations: Continue reading →
Tourism consultancy Grant Thornton has calculated that the impact of the Visa Regulations, introduced in part in 2014 and in part this year, will cost our economy R2,6 billion and 5800 jobs this year, contrary to the government’s goal of growing the economy and aiding job creation.
The inter-ministerial committee consisting of representatives of the Departments of Tourism and Home Affairs, chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, appears to be close to a ‘compromise‘, but details have not been announced officially by the Department of Home Affairs. The Committee has Continue reading →
Before visiting Hartford House in August I did not realize that it was located on one of our country’s finest heritage stud farms. I was delighted that owner Mick Goss was my guide to Summerhill Stud, showing me around his ‘largest foreign-owned horse hotel‘ with passion.
We clicked immediately, having the University of Stellenbosch as an Continue reading →
*. Despite the Rand exchange rate being at its best ever for international visitors, no surge in tourism bookings is being seen. The after-effect of last year’s Ebola crisis, and the new visa regulations, have affected tourism numbers from China, India, and Brazil in particular. Hotelier Arthur Gillis said that the golden opportunity of the exchange rate was negated by the visa regulations, and said that we ‘shoot ourselves in the foot’.
Almost daily we see a new report about the damage that the new Immigration Regulations are causing to our country’s Tourism industry, with drastic reductions in the number of tourist arrivals despite a very favorable exchange rate. Interesting too has been the defensive reaction of the Department of Home Affairs to the criticism raised by the Tourism industry, its Minister Malusi Gigaba not wishing to admit to ‘the unintended consequences of South Africa’s new visa regulations‘.
Now Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is to chair a meeting between the two departments, welcome news if he is able to quickly find a solution to the Tourism disaster. The meeting was due to be held today, but has been cancelled as it does not suit the Deputy President’s diary.
Earlier this week Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom admitted to the South African Association for the Conference Industry congress that the visa regulations ‘have had an impact on tourism’. He referred to the Ministerial committee which was appointed to ‘consider and review the unintended consequences‘, and requested the conference industry to commit to work together ‘and make the best of the growth opportunities emerging around us’. He added: ‘I am confident that we will approach that meeting with an intention of finding solutions. I don’t think we should downplay the impact that this has had on our industry‘.
Minister Hanekom suggested that the industry focus on Domestic Tourism, to compensate for the decline in international tourist arrivals. Conferences should be used as a marketing opportunity for promoting leisure tourism to business delegates attending conferences. He referred to the 177 association conferences which will be held in our country in the best five years, to be attended by more than 250000 delegates.
Home Affairs Minister Gigaba has denied that the visa regulations have affected tourist arrivals, as we reported last week. The Tourism industry has been disappointed that it has taken Minister Hanekom so long to publicly take a stand about the visa regulations, and their effect on Tourism, referring to the ‘worrying drop‘ in tourism numbers. He highlighted the 40% decline in tourist from China in the first quarter of this year. The Minister has become bolder in criticising his Home Affairs colleagues, accusing them of using over-inflated numbers to dramatize the ‘child-trafficking‘ problem. He said: ‘Trafficking is a problem, it [the numbers] probably was exaggerated. Some of the figures mooted were not very accurate’.