South African passport

E-visas facilitates easier and cheaper travel says South African Tourism Minister

The 6th annual E-tourism summit takes place at the International Convention Centre in the city of Cape Town. The summit hosted by South African Tourism in partnership with Cape Town tourism, addressed interested parties within the local tourism industry and SMME’s. Speakers include delegates from Youtube, Facebook, TripAdvisor and Expedia.

“Travel needs to be less cumbersome,” says South African Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk while addressing interested stakeholders at the E-tourism summit. He also took the opportunity to highlight the global tourism industry’s exponential growth over the last sixty years.

The vital roles of digital and online destination marketing as well as the convenience of e-commerce contributed to local and international growth; and this favourable trend is set to continue.

As recourse to reducing the barriers to entry, the minister was quick to point out that, “We need to address the present outdated system of always having to go to embassies, filling in forms and standing in queues. In a few years times this will be non-existent”.

In a positive response to questions regarding the progress of the e-visa as proposed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) at the 2012 G20 meeting, Van Schalkwyk said, “I believe this is the way to go. Not only is it much cheaper and easier for travel but from a security point of view it is much more effective.” He further encouraged governments to address additional barriers to entry such as various taxes imposed in the travel industry. He urged that travel become more viable and accessible.

The tourism summit this year looks at trends and developments that are changing the face of tourism; with focus on the highly significant contributor – the rising and popular use of online platforms – to influence travel choices and decisions. Advice on the best ways to utilize online platforms to establish and grow a business was discussed.

CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers, Damian Cook sees the future of travel being influenced by promising online trends. “It’s exciting to see how the online travel world is evolving and where the new trends are emerging.

The e-visa system would boost the tourism volume to South Africa. One of the off spins would be the creation of new job opportunities in the tourism industry. Central to this innovative system is the facilitation of easier and cheaper opportunities to explore and experience new places and cultures.
Positive predictions as a result of preliminary research conducted by UNWTO and WTTC released at the 2012 G20 meeting point to tourism experiencing sustained development in the coming years with an astounding 1.8 billion international travellers in 2030.