By Ayo Onikoyi
Honourable Minister of Tourism, South Africa; Derek Andre Hanekom, has declared that his country is working towards modernizing systems to ease visa burdens via e-visa regime. Hanekom, who was visiting Nigeria for the first time, attended the 61st Regional Tourism Conference of The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which held at Abuja, Nigeria,from 4th – 5th June 2018 with 20 Ministers and 500 delegates from 34 countries in attendance.
Following his introductory meeting with Nigerian trade and media at Indaba earlier in April 2018, the Minister alongside Consul General of SA in Lagos, Amb. Darkey Africa, hosted guests from the media, trade & stakeholders in Lagos, Nigeria, to an exclusive dinner in Lagos, Radisson – Ikeja on the 6th of June 2018.
The stakeholders and key Trade travel partners discussed the re-occurring challenges of visa processing as one of the key issues which hinders the over-all experience of Nigerians’ travelling to South Africa.
The Minister assured all present that much was being done to address the challenges that hinder the growth of tourism.
“ There is much being done to ease the South African visa issues in Nigeria. We are working towards eventually having an e-visa regime. We want to modernize the systems and ease the burdens. In the interim, we will be working on recognizing valid visas from other countries such as USA, U.K .etc. so that Nigerians with such visas will be given leniency. Africa is indeed open for business, and offers a world of opportunity”
The Consular General re-affirmed the position on visas. He said: “We are aware of the visa situation and are working towards resolving them with the colleagues from home affairs.” He further urged applicants to submit applications on time and with sufficient supporting documents
The meeting played a key role in solidifying the unification of West Africa and South Africa, with much being done to strengthen areas of synergy between the two nations.