CAPE TOWN – It seems controversial visa regulations have not deterred holidaymakers from travelling to South Africa.
The Home Affairs Department says it has in fact recorded a seven percent increase in foreigner visitors, compared to the 2014/2015 festive season.
The rules stipulate that foreigners who want to visit South Africa must apply for visas in person at South African embassies abroad.
Visitors also need to have their biometric data captured there.
Parents and guardians travelling with minors must be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate showing both parents’ details.
The department says over two million more foreign nationals visited the country between 12 December 2015 and January 2016.
This is an increase by 7 percent, despite the outcry from the tourism industry that the visa regulations would drastically cut down on tourists.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba is calling on the tourism industry to embrace the regulations.
“The country has been safe and I think that is the issue at all times we have to bear in mind that tourism is not the only consideration when you apply and consider visa regulations,” said Gigaba.
“I don’t think the people of Paris still have the same romantic view of tourists after what happened last year.”
Gigaba says the regulations will help to align the country’s economic and security interests.