The South African government has been urged by the country’s Parliament to further explore key international markets, especially China, India and Nigeria.
Tourism has been identified as a key pillar in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stimulus package, intended to jump-start the country’s economy.
Last Friday, the government launched the Tourism Month, to give impetus to the industry, in times of poor economic performance.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) should find ways of enhancing its workforce, in key international markets, which have been identified as key growth areas for tourism for South Africa, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, said.
The committee made the appeal as it conducted a four-day oversight visit programme, at the DHA’s Head Office in Pretoria.
The committee heard that the DHA has only four officials in China, four in India and only three in Nigeria, committee chairperson, Mosa Chabane, said.
This low human resource base impacts negatively on the ability of the DHA to process visa applications for applicants in those countries, with estimated high number of people wishing to visit South Africa, Bernama News reported.
The government is trying to meet the target of creating 21 million jobs through tourism.
To achieve this target, the Tourism Department will continue to work closely with the DHA on visa facilitation, to increase access to the country by tourists, Tourism Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said.