This follows a recent pronouncement by Minister Gigaba in which he categorically stated that the visa regulations were here to stay, and that the Inter-Ministerial review team is tasked with ensuring the implementation of the new regulations is made easier for immigration authorities.
“The DA, along with the tourism industry, has long held that these regulations are disastrous for the industry – which constitutes 9% of our GDP and employs 1.5 million South Africans – and must be abandoned,” said the DA in a statement.
According to tourism industry, one job is created for every 12 arrivals.
“In a country with a 36% unemployment rate, this potential to create jobs must not be jeopardised,” said the DA.
According to StatsSA, overseas arrivals for the first quarter of 2015 are down 7% from 632 642 in 2014 to 589 802.
The markets hardest hit are China and India, which are down 38% and 13% respectively. For the first quarter of the year, South Africa saw 19 104 arrivals from this market, compared with last year’s 30 767.
Traditional source markets are also down. The UK dropped nearly 11% to 122 719 arrivals from 129 149 the year before. Germany dropped by 3% to 85 254 from 87 949 in 2014. The US dropped 7,86% during the first quarter of the year, with 64 125 arrivals compared with last year’s 69 592.
“The evidence is clear – and the DA will not stand back while ANC policy destroys one of our country’s key job-creating sectors.
“Since Minister Hanekom assumed the office of Minister of Tourism just over one year ago, we have seen tourism plummet in South Africa. It is high time that he comes out of hiding, takes ownership of the current situation, and supports this call for a substantive review.
“The DA believes government must always act honestly, transparently and in the best interests of all South Africans. Suspension of the regulations and a full-scale review is the only way to achieve this.”