International Air Transport Association (IATA) has described the government’s decision to amend some of its visa and immigration requirements as “a positive move in the right direction”.

IATA pointed out that it was now especially important for the changes to be communicated “clearly, expeditiously and effectively to all markets, so that there is no confusion”.  

Vital to the process would be the actual start dates for the amendments to come into effect and rapid implementation of the changes, to avoid further lost opportunities for South Africa’s travel and tourism sector, IATA said.

According to the association, the upcoming summer season, traditionally the sector’s busiest period of the year, is already expected to under-perform as a result of the onerous rules that came into effect on 1 June 2014. 

“The speedy adoption of the amended requirements will also support the combined marketing campaigns led by airlines and their Tourism industry partners, which aims to restore consumer confidence in South Africa as a value-for-money destination for business and leisure travel,” Raphael Kuuchi, IATA Vice President Africa, declared. 

“At the end of the day, we all want to live in a safe and secure society and in this respect IATA stands shoulder-to-shoulder with South Africa in combating child trafficking and other illegal exploitative practices.  

“Given South Africa’s current socioeconomic challenges, it is, at the same time, imperative that airlines be permitted to transport people and goods safely, securely and efficiently between South Africa and its markets around the world.  This will promote economic growth, create and sustain jobs, drive skills development and advance genuine and meaningful transformation,” Kuuchi said.

SA Passport