South Africa is heading into the 2020 Summer Peak Season on a much-needed positive note - the country has been leveraged into the limelight thanks to the Bokke's spectacular Rugby World Cup win - but even more importantly, it is now easier for foreign families to visit our sunny shores.
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International minors travelling to South Africa no longer require Unabridged Birth Certificates or consent letters when travelling with their parents.
Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi officially scrapped the requirement for unabridged birth certificates for visitors travelling to SA on Friday, 8 November.
All and sundry within the tourism sector are celebrating, from the Airlines Association of Southern Africa to South African Tourism.
“This is welcome relief and will help South Africa regain its competitive position as an attractive tourism destination,” remarked AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal.
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While meant to protect minors against child trafficking, the poorly considered requirement for unabridged birth certificates resulted in nothing short of a crisis in the tourism industry in South Africa and the Western Cape, when it was first implemented in 2014. Airlines in particular also carried the brunt of having to turn away those who unfortunately did not have the UBC document, despite having valid passports.
The hospitality industry across SA also suffered as international tourism numbers declined steadily.
Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier says, "Tourism remains the backbone of the Western Cape economy, supporting over 300 000 direct and indirect jobs in our province alone."
"To ensure the impact of the unabridged birth certificates requirement is immediately reduced ahead of the upcoming tourist season, Cape Town and the Western Cape tourism industry will be launching a collaborative marketing campaign in direct response, and in celebration of the long-awaited change in the unabridged birth certificates requirements."
The marketing campaign, "Come to Cape Town & the Western Cape, where kids stay free!" will launch in January 2020.
Founding partners of the campaign are Cape Town Tourism, SATSA, FEDHASA Cape, Tsogo Sun, The President Hotel and Wesgro.
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Maynier says it is expected to entice families to book a holiday in Cape Town and the Western Cape over a specified period, with participating partners offering all children free accommodation most likely over the January to March 2020 period. Terms and conditions will apply, with full details to be made available closer to the time.
Added to that the campaign is not limited to the accommodation sector, as more businesses that wish to celebrate the removal of the unabridged birth certificate rules are being encouraged to join the campaign.
"Tourism trade who would like to be a part of our campaign can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for further details."
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