Media Release: Minister Alan Winde welcomes friendlier visa regime
Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, has welcomed the announcement of a friendlier visa regime for South Africa. Today, as part of his stimulus and recovery plan, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced imminent amendments to the requirements for travelling minors, countries requiring visas, and visas for highly skilled foreigners. He also announced that an e-visa pilot would take place.
Winde said: “The tightening of the visa regime in 2014 had severe consequences for our tourism sector, a major income provider for residents in our region. The hospitality sector reported widespread cancellations, with travel from some markets, such as China, being particularly constrained. My Red Tape Reduction team was working around the clock with Home Affairs dealing with families being turned away at our airport because they did not have unabridged birth certificates, which are not generally required when travelling abroad. Together with industry, we raised our concerns with the national government, and we are glad these have now been taken on board. We look forward to their swift implementation. I also look forward to seeing more innovation in this space, with the long awaited pilot for e-visas.”
Winde continued: “We have an opportunity now to rebuild and unlock further jobs and growth in our tourism sector, and together with Wesgro, we will be pushing very hard to ensure the return of our destination to bucket lists across the globe. I believe that in dealing with tourism red tape we must go one step further, by looking into the possibility of automatically accepting travellers who have passed the stringent visa requirements of other countries. In doing so, we will make sure our doors are open to welcome as many travellers as possible.”
Wesgro, the Western Cape’s Official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, will soon be launching a new tourism campaign aimed at international travellers. CEO, Tim Harris, commented: "We welcome the decisive steps indicated by President Ramaphosa to urgently address key issues facing us on a national level. We, in particular, welcome the announced revisions to the visa regime-these are changes that Wesgro has been advocating for years, and through his inclusion of these revisions in his stimulus package, he has highlighted just how incredibly important an effective visa regime is to the economy of the country."