Assisting Travellers With South Africa’s New Child Visa Laws
South Africa’s new child visa laws came into effect on 1 June 2015 and with only a few days to spare the South African Department of Home Affairs published standard operating procedures for airlines and the tourism industry, as well as uploaded a leaflet to their website intended to help would-be travellers; neither of which make the new regulations clear enough.
In an email sent to members of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), CEO David Frost said that he found the documents “shockingly complicated”.
Russell Jarvis, head of communication at Travelstart South Africa, said: “The regulations are complex, daunting and not easily accessible for local or international travellers. Travellers need to know exactly what documents they require for a seamless and stress-free entry into our beautiful country’s borders."
Owner of Destinate, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, says; “Tourism is one of the best performing sectors of the South African economy. At a time when the rest of the world is making it easier for travellers to enter destinations and technological advancements should be making processes quicker and simpler, we are side-lining potential travellers from very important markets. These new regulations could cost the country billions in Rands and lead to lost job opportunities at a time South Africa desperately needs it.”
To help would-be travellers understand these new requirements better, Drive South Africa has created the free web-based Child Visa Checklist app, functional on both mobiles and desktops. The app provides an easy-to-understand checklist of documents required by anyone travelling to or from South Africa with children – covering all 37 child-travel scenarios – providing the necessary information in three easy clicks.
Du-Toit Helmbold adds: “Apps such as Drive South Africa’s Child Visa Checklist will go a long way in assisting visitors with a seamless Visa process as well as curbing blunders at ports of entry into the country, which could have a detrimental effect to the reputation of destination South Africa.”
Andre Van Kets, creator of the Child Visa Checklist App, concludes; “We initially created the app so that our travel consultants could fully understand the new child visa requirements and better serve our clients, but the app has been so well received that we’ve decided to go ‘open source’ with it and let anyone in the tourism industry - and travellers themselves - access the information.”
Since the launch of the app on 30 May 2015 it has been accessed more than 10 000 times by users from South Africa and 120 other countries abroad, and it has been shared more than 2000 times on social media.
Download the Drive South Africa Child Visa Checklist app here.