Tourism minister seeks to implement e-visa system

2012-05-21

South African Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, reinforced the importance of implementing an e-visa system during the fourth T.20 Ministers Meeting, an annual meeting for the ministers of tourism of the G20 countries, Tourism Update reports.

During the meeting, which was held in Merida, Mexico last week, the various tourism ministers supported the e-visa concept because it presented an opportunity to simultaneously enhance security and facilitate travel.

According to SouthAfrica.net Minister van Schalkwyk cited three main barriers to international travel and tourism in South Africa that could be overcome quite easily by upping technology in the industry. "We must harness technology to take the trouble out of travel. By 2020, I am convinced we will have implemented a system of e-visas that will improve security while also facilitating hassle-free travel," he said.

Tourism Update referred to research by the UNWTO and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) presented at the meeting that showed in 2011, 109 million tourists visiting G20 countries required a visa. Based on this, the meeting participants considered that improvements in visa facilitation could result in opportunities to stimulate wealth creation and employment generation.

Currently Australia, the US, and Sri Lanka offer an E-visa option to citizens of certain countries.

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