South African tourism authorities welcome visa waiver for seven nationalities

South African tourism  authorities have welcomed a move by the government to waive visa requirements for seven nationalities, bringing the total number of nationalities that can travel visa-free to the country to 75.

The move to abolish the visa restrictions on the seven nationalities was announced by the Minister of Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on Wednesday during his department’s budget vote speech.

“This is amazing news and could not have come at better time for the tourism industry,” South Africa’s Tourism Acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini said.

“As we look to achieve our 5-in-5 goals which is to increase international tourist arrivals by 4 million and domestic holiday trips by 1 million, the visa waivers will go a long way to assisting the increase of tourist arrivals into South Africa.”

“The visa waivers to countries in all of our key markets will ensure that we stimulate growth in the industry that is in line with the mandate issued to us by President Cyril Ramaphosa,” she added.

The seven countries whose nationalities were exempted from visa requirements are; Ghana, New Zealand, Cuba, Qatar, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Home Affairs also pledged to avail more staff in countries with high demand for South African visas in order to reduce the acquisition time for the travel document.

Motsoaledi also announced that plans for an online visa application system, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address, were underway.