Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: GCIS
Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: GCIS

The scrapping of the unabridged birth certificate requirement for inbound travellers will boost the tourism sector, tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said at the weekend.

The directive, signed by home affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday, means that international minors travelling to SA no longer require unabridged birth certificates or consent letters when travelling with their parents. All ports of entries as well as the airline and maritime industries have been informed following the signing of the waiver, the tourism department said.

The government recently agreed to ease some of the more onerous visa requirements in a bid to boost the tourism sector and the broader economy.

When the unabridged birth certificate requirement was introduced in 2015, tourism associations which represent inbound tourism services companies, said they had received information from the UK press and some travellers who were turned away at various airports because they did not meet the visa requirements, particularly the birth certificate requirement. Reports at the time were that between 10 and 20 families were daily denied travel to SA from London's Heathrow Airport, on the basis that they did not meet the visa requirements.

“There has been a number of concerns raised on the unabridged birth certificates and the impact to tourism was enormous. We believe that this announcement will go a long way in helping us to attract more tourists to South Africa as a destination of choice,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

She said to completely rescind the requirement is a win for tourism and “an upside for industry and travellers alike as this has been a real concern raised throughout my engagements with various stakeholders.”

“This announcement couldn’t have come at a better time than now as we approach the festive season. It further shows collaborative efforts on priorities in the 6th administration will yield good result and in this instance it will undoubtedly ensure ease of access to South Africa, as the work continues to bring over 21-million targeted international visitors by 2030 to boost tourism and turn around our economy,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za