South Africa’s cabinet decided to loosen visa rules and scrap a controversial travel requirement for children as it seeks to attract more investment and tourists, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The measures are among a series of initiatives to be announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday as he intensifies efforts to revive economic growth, said the people who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public yet. Africa’s most-industrialised economy entered its first recession since 2009 in the second quarter.
South Africa is particularly targeting travellers from China and India, two of the world’s fastest-growing outbound tourism markets, News24 reported in July, citing Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom. China accounted for 130 million travellers globally, with India forecast for have 50 million people traveling abroad by 2020, it said.
The number of visitors to South Africa from outside the continent declined 1.5% year-on-year in the first seven months of this year, according to Statistics South Africa data.
The government will ease work-permit requirements for scarce skills and simplify the process for business and leisure travellers to obtain short-term entry documents, the people said. Multiple-entry visas and electronic-visa applications will also be introduced, they said.
A requirement that traveling children be accompanied by one natural parent and that they have a full birth certificate stating the names of both parents is being scrapped. The measures, introduced in 2014 to reduce child trafficking, led to a drop in the number of visitors to South Africa.