Following the recent wave of public debate surrounding the new visa immigration regulations, Wesgro, the official Destination Marketing, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency for the Western Cape, hosted a workshop in collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs for the tourism and business sector.
The travel and tourism sector directly employs some 679,500 people and is growing at a rate of 3% and contributes directly and indirectly to 9.4% of South Africa’s GDP.
The workshop was hosted in a move towards increased communication and to help clarify aspects of the new regulations for members of the tourism and business sector. With the new regulations here to stay, the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) Cape region saw this platform as one that encourages conversation and engagement – a step towards government and the tourism industry moving forward together.
“With the new regulations implemented just over a month ago, members of the tourism and hospitality industry have experienced difficulties in the implementation of the new visa regulations,” said Rob Kucera, Chairman of FEDHASA Cape. “It is encouraging to see Wesgro and the Department of Home Affairs host a workshop of this nature where those directly impacted are engaged in a spirit of collaboration to examine the procedures that will assist in simplifying the admin systems and processes.”
As the watchdog and lobbying body for the hospitality industry and with their members’ best interest at the heart of FEDHASA Cape’s mandate, the industry body along with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, will continue to engage in positive dialogue with Wesgro, who offered to host the Western Cape Development Agency, that will operate as a task team to forge a way forward, with representation from all relevant government departments and industry role players.
In addition to actively engaging with Wesgro and government on the way forward regarding the new visa regulations, FEDHASA Cape is also working with various industry associations and role players, including the City of Cape Town and the Province regarding plans to position the Western Cape as a yearlong destination.
“There is no doubt that due to the new visa regulations we have challenging times ahead,” said Kucera. “As the industry body for the hospitality sector we are committed to encouraging these conversations for the benefit of the tourism industry and ultimately to safeguard the international tourist impression of South Africa as a holiday destination of choice.”