AFTA is delighted by South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba’s announcement, that the new immigration regulations requiring travellers under the age of 18 to travel with unabridged birth certificate or equivalent from their country of origin, has been deferred until June 1, 2015.
The deferment comes following months of fervent lobbying by ASATA and its trade association partners in South Africa, including meetings with both the Minister and Deputy Minister, letters to the Ministry and opinion pieces in the press, to raise awareness around the negative impact that these new immigration regulations could have on the travel and tourism sectors and the shortfalls in the ability of Home Affairs to meet their own objectives regarding various amendments to the Immigration Act.
AFTA Chief Executive, Jayson Westbury, recently expressed his own concerns to South African Tourism Update believing that the South African government has not effectively communicated new travel regulations to the international travel industry.
“We as the industry association have not been approached by the South African Tourism Department or anybody to articulate this to our constituency,” Westbury said.
According to Westbury, the lack of communication was a good reason for the government to delay implementing the new regulations.
“It takes a good government to realise that sometimes the best thing to do is pause while further consultation is undertaken. The South African government and ASATA have done tremendous work building the destinations brand and so it would be a shame to damage that reputation now,” Westbury said.
AFTA will do its job to support ASATA and educate the Australian travel industry and consumers about the changes before they come into effect 1 June, next year.