Research shows impact of new visa laws

The new South African visa regulations implemented last year and the recent child visa laws are indeed affecting the local tourism industry and GDP, according to research.

The research, done on the behalf of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), is published in a report prepared by Grant Thornton entitled “TBCSA’s Report on the Impact of the New Immigration Regulations on the Travel and Tourism Industry”.

So what were the findings?

The report found that the new immigration regulations are in fact negatively affecting South Africa’s tourist industry and GDP.

“The total direct, indirect and induced impact on the South African economy in 2014 was a negative R2.6-billion and a potential loss of more than 5 800 jobs,” the report said.

This includes a R886-million loss of direct tourist spend for the tourism industry.

However, the true impact of the regulations remains to be seen.

” In 2015, the number of lost foreign tourists due to changes in the immigration regulations is likely to increase to 100 000, with a direct tourism spend of R1.4-billion and the total net loss to the South African GDP of around R4.1-billion and a loss of 9 300 jobs,” the report said.

“The amendments to the visa regulations have had, and will continue to have, a significant negative impact on South Africa’s tourism industry and the economy as a whole.”

The researchers suggested that the regulations for the collection of biometric data be put on hold and that a “biometrics on arrival” system rather be implemented.

The report also recommends that a visitor-friendly visa regime be implemented.

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