South Africa pleads for e-visa

There are barriers for tourists who want to travel to Africa, which can easily be broken. The introduction of e-visas for example will serve not only to grow tourism volumes but will also create new job opportunities, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk of South Africa thinks.

“There are opportunities to accelerate the creation of regional visa schemes. This would allow our international visitors and intra-African travellers to move more freely and efficiently, to the benefit of our continent,” the minister says.

He says the continent has a long way to go to capitalise on its unique attractions and cultural diversity but that visa barriers still need to be overcome. “The bureaucracy and costs involved in applying for and issuing visas are a major impediment to foreigners wishing to visit our shores, and to our own people who travel on our continent.”

Another barrier is old air connectivity models. Minister Van Schalkwyk: “They inhibit growth and only serve to keep our destinations dependent on air arrivals from economically hard-pressed traditional source markets. Many of the airline hubs on which we depend tax our international travellers like cash cows… let’s rather unlock the potential of airlift on our continent,” he said. “We need a long-term plan to create an intra-continental air transport architecture that facilitates intra-African travel and trade, including tourism.”

The minister sees a solution in new-model lower cost airlines that could cater for market segments that are currently underserved are needed on the continent. “I believe that the African continent is on the verge of an unprecedented tourism boom over the next two decades. In a mere three years from now, there will be just over 50 African cities with populations exceeding three million,” he said.


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