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MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF TOURISM, MR DEREK HANEKOM IMPACT OF NEW IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS ON TOURISM

The regulation of immigration matters is the constitutional responsibility of the Department of Home Affairs. However, the National Department of Tourism has received representations from tourism stakeholders on the possible unintended consequences of some of the new provisions. Industry role players have highlighted two specific provisions, namely the new requirement for an unabridged birth certificate for minors, as well as the provision for in-person collection of biometric data in tourism source markets. Industry stakeholders argue that these measures may impact on the competitiveness of our destination in an era where countries are attempting to ease visa requirements to promote tourism.

Any matter that could have a detrimental impact on international tourist arrivals to South Africa is a concern. The intentions behind the gazetted immigration regulations reflect South Africa's commitment to contributing to global efforts to combat child trafficking.  The prospect, however, of unforeseen and unintended negative consequences must be taken seriously. Like many other destinations, we have a dual imperative: We have to combat child trafficking by aligning our approach to global efforts, while limiting damage to our competitiveness as a tourism destination.

Accordingly, the National Department of Tourism and industry stakeholders are currently studying, from a tourism vantage point, global best practice for responding to these broader policy challenges and the practicalities of implementing such measures.

Officials from the National Department of Tourism are also engaging in urgent discussions with their counterparts in the Department of Home Affairs to clarify any misperceptions and to find appropriate solutions where required. I will also be meeting with my counterpart, Minister Gigaba, to follow-up on these discussions if required.

I want to assure our trade partners and other industry stakeholders that, as government, we understand the value of travel and tourism, which has grown so impressively over the last few years. We will carefully consider any negative impacts of well-intentioned measures on international tourist arrivals and the attractiveness of our destination.

ISSUED BY:

Ministry of Tourism

Natasha Rockman

Cell: 076 429 2264

Art in the Park 30 May 2014

Grading Council Reveals Changes To Criteria

The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) has completed its three-yearly review of the grading criteria and minimum requirements (MR) that has seen some changes that will impact four- and five-star establishments.

Now, four-star establishments are no longer required to have a shower screen only. The MR now states that shower curtains are acceptable but they must be laundered after each stay and must be free of stains, tears, holes and mould. Thembi Kunene, chief quality assurance officer for the TGCSA says assessors will be instructed to check back of house to ensure there is sufficient stock of shower curtains beyond what is just hanging inside the rooms.

Another amendment to bathroom requirements applies to five-star properties, which can now apply for dispensation from the MR of a separate shower and bath. If dispensation is granted, the property will need to clearly stipulate in its marketing collateral as well as the booking confirmation, that it only has a shower or a bath.

Four-star establishments are no longer required to have a ‘noiseless mini bar fridge in the room and beverages and snacks available on request from the service’. Now a mini bar only has to be supplied upon request by the guest.

Four- and five-star hotels and lodges are now required to have (minimum) 32-inch (81cm) remote-controlled flat-panel colour television.

Another change is that the self-catering category has been split into two: Exclusive Use Category and Shared Vacation Category. Exclusive Use refers to self-catering accommodation for exclusive use, such as apartments and free-standing residential dwellings. Shared Vacation refers to lifestyle apartments and resorts with onsite or communal facilities and amenities.

Interestingly, some of the anticipated changes did not get much support from the industry during the review process, including the introduction of a six-star or ‘five-star deluxe’ category. “The overwhelming sentiment from industry was that we should just keep it as five star,” says Kunene.

She says the new criteria and requirements balance the expectations with the viability, profitability and sustainability of South African tourism businesses. They were based on feedback from the TGCSA’s online review process, which saw over 2 300 people commenting on the criteria. “The revision of the criteria did not only take into consideration industry input but also the various comments we received on their sister publication, Tourism Update website when we published the criteria for comment. All these comments were considered when the final decisions were made on the criteria,” says Thembi.

MPTA News Edition December 2013

Feel free to download the full MPTA - Newsletters in the downloads section on the left

Don’t forget MPTA Membership Renewals due now – July 2014 – June 2015.

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