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The South African economy takes another blow as tourism dips

by , 21 July 2015

Yesterday saw the release of the latest South African Tourism Business Index. The index showed a stark drop in tourism over the second quarter of the year.

Taking the blame for the drop in the index are new visa restrictions along with a number of other factors.

Let's take a closer look at what's going on…


South Africa tourism hits a four year low


The latest Tourism Business Index has fallen to a four year low since its introduction in 2010, says IOL. The index “tracks [the] performance in South Africa’s tourism sector”.

From April to June, the index fell to 83.6, reports the SABC. That’s down from the 99.9 reported for the first three months of the year.

This is the lowest recording since the third quarter in 2011, adds the SABC. A score of 100 indicates “normal levels of trade”.


The reasons for a drop in tourism


The Tourism Business Council says the major factor behind a drop in tourism activity is new legislation the government introduced, notes IOL. This legislation means foreign travellers visiting SA must “provide biometrics when applying for visas and parents [need] to carry unabridged birth certificates when travelling with children”.

But this isn’t the only factor keeping tourists away from SA.

As Carin Smith in Fin24 explains, there are a number of other factors including:

  • Problems with “electricity and water shortages;
  • Xenophobia;
  • High cost of flights, accommodation and car hire; and
  • The impact of the Ebola virus”.

In May, the minister for tourism, Derek Hanekom, raised his concerns over the impact of new visa requirements, reports Bloomberg. At the time he said that “numbers from all countries requiring visas have dropped”. Hanekom added that the new visa regulations appeared to be “having an impact”.

The latest index revealed the “tourism industry performed significantly lower than expected” over the period under review, adds Fin24.

This certainly comes at a time when the South African economy is in dire need of foreigners visiting the country.

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The South African economy takes another blow as tourism dips
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