For as long as there has been swift enough transport to make the journey worthwhile, well-heeled Britons have been escaping the bleak winters of the North to become seasonal expats in the Cape. Known as "swallows", they now number more than 30,000, according to tourism industry estimates, and are bolstered by thousands of Germans, Swiss and other Europeans.Yet aside from Capetonians’ idle complaints about the foreigners clogging up their roads, it is rare to hear a conversation about the effects of the phenomenon. Debate about the economic impact, and whether some policy shifts might unlock further potential, has been nonexistent.Like all visitors to SA, swallows are granted 90-day stays on arrival. Yet David Frost, the chief executive of the SA Tourism Services Organisation, says most would stay longer if permitted. While many do exploit a loophole by visiting a neighbouring country before re-entering SA for another 90 days, Frost argues that loosening the regulations could be bene...

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