The City of Cape Town on Monday welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that government would implement an electronic visa system and remove the unabridged birth certificate requirement for tourists.
The introduction of electronic visas would provide a real means for protecting jobs in tourism, present significant advantages by cutting turnaround times for the issuing of travel documentation, and was more secure than existing permits, said mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos.
"We need to streamline tourist facilitation to our country and especially our cities to make it easier for travellers to select South Africa as a destination of choice when it comes to travel and trade. Ultimately there is a need to cut the red tape and roll out the red carpet," Vos said.
"Until recently, the government’s visa regulations continued to make it difficult for tourists to select South Africa as a destination due its cumbersome visa application processes."
Vos said that electronic visas had proven to be highly effective in countries such as Turkey, which was widely regarded as having the best international practice when it came to visa applications.
"The use of technology in tourism is well established. For example, where electronic visas have been implemented, they have proven to be extremely effective, so it makes perfect sense to implement it here, given the recent visa debacle in South Africa."
The tourism industry supported more than 300,000 jobs and contributed about R40 billion to the regional economy, Vos said.
- African News Agency (ANA)