Engineering News reports that South African Tourism acting CEO Sthembiso Dlamini says a waiver signed by Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi last week, allowing foreign children to enter the country without carrying additional supporting documents such as unabridged birth certificates and consent letters, would be welcomed by all in the tourism industry, both in South Africa and globally.
“In all our markets, family travel is a key driver for arrivals, and we compete with many other destinations for the share of the family travel segment. The waiver announcement will allow us to proactively and aggressively market South Africa as a family-friendly destination again,” he said.
He indicated that, following recent roadshows to the UK, Central Europe and North America, some of the feedback received was that the country was starting to lose ground in the family travel market, as families were choosing other destinations ahead of South Africa owing to the regulations around travelling with minors.
“With this changed, we can now work on regaining [our share of] this market.
“As we look to achieve the goal set by President Cyril Ramaphosa of 21-million arrivals by 2030, waiving the unabridged birth certificate for international minors will certainly prove to be a catalyst for us to achieve the goal,” Dlamini said.
At the time of signing the waiver, Motsoaledi had pointed out that the “improvement in our admissions policy builds on the work the department has been doing to contribute to economic growth and investment”.
“It is significant that we have completed the policy changes in the week in which President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted the second Investment Conference. We anticipate that this change will have a positive impact on tourism as we approach the holiday season,” said Motsoaledi.
The Department of Home Affairs has communicated the changes to immigration officials at its ports of entry and to the airline and maritime industries.
South African children are, however, still required to provide supporting documents, in line with the requirements of the Children’s Act, when travelling. The same applies to unaccompanied foreign children.
Foreign children who require a visa for South Africa do not need to carry the supporting documents for inspection at a port of entry since these would be processed together with their visa applications.