Recently, Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism, South Africa visited India to discuss tourism ties between India and South Africa. Hanekom was accompanied by Sisa Ntshona, CEO, South African Tourism, and Maropene L Ramokgopa, Consul General, South Africa.

The delegation shared a positive outlook for India— a key source market which is expected to play a crucial role in South Africa’s vision of attracting 5 million additional visitors, including 4 million international tourists by 2021. Therefore, the delegation stressed that the country is working towards offering better air connectivity and simplifying visa process for Indians.

On the subject of simplifying visa applications, Maropene L Ramokgopa, Consul General, South Africa, said, “The Consulate of South Africa will work closely with South African Tourism to accredit select travel agents and tour operators to allow fast-tracking visa applications from preferred partners. The efforts would seek to further to reduce the time for visa issuance, which is currently, between five to seven days from time of application, while enabling faster turnaround times during peak seasons.”

Hanekom also stated that efforts are being taken to resume direct flights between the two countries, however, nothing has been confirmed yet.

In addition to leisure travel, MICE tourism is also picking up in South Africa. From January to June 2018, MICE accounted for 28 per cent of the Indian traveller visits while 23 per cent Indians travelled for business.