International minors travelling to South Africa no longer require Unabridged Birth Certificates or consent letters when travelling with their parents.

The Unabridged Birth Certificate waiver has been welcomed and is expected to boost tourism, after negatively impacting international visitors accessibility to South Africa for a number of years.

StatsSA recently released new tourism figures, showing a drop of 2% in overseas tourist arrivals from January to August this year. This is even further down after we saw a 1.3% drop in overseas visitors from January to August 2018.

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane called it a "positive development ahead of the festive season when the country sees an increase in inbound travellers".

The directive, signed by Home Affairs Minister Aoron Motsoaledi on Friday, 8 November was followed by an official announcement on Sunday at the Lilizela Tourism Awards ceremony in Pretoria.

Although intended to curb human trafficking, The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) estimates the country’s travel, tourism and hospitality industries lost hundreds of millions of rands over the past five years as a direct result of the restrictions and how they were implemented.

“This is welcome relief and will help South Africa regain its competiive position as an attractive tourism destination,” remarked AASA CEO, Chris Zweigenthal.

“Reforms such as this waiver will help to strengthen the entire sector and contribute towards the economic rejuvenation of South Africa and the region. This is a good start, but there are still other corrective interventions to be made and unnecessary red tape to be slashed”, added Mr Zweigenthal.

"All ports of entries as well as the airline and maritime industries have been informed following the signing of the waiver," says Kubayi-Ngubane.

"We believe that this announcement will go a long way in helping us to attract more tourists to South Africa as a destination of choice."

“The news will certainly be welcomed by all in the tourism industry, both in South Africa and around the world,” says South African Tourism acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini.

“In all our markets, family travel is a key driver for arrivals and we compete with many other destinations for the share of family travel. The waiver announcement will allow us to proactively and aggressively market South Africa as a family friendly destination again. There is an abundance of fun to be had in South Africa for families travelling with children of all ages and certainly enough experiences to leave lasting memories in both parents and children.”

“To completely rescind this requirement is a win for tourism, as the work continues to bring over 21million targeted international visitors by 2030 to boost tourism and turn around our economy,” says Kubayi-Ngubane.

Selene Brophy,