South Africa is set to open four new Visa application centers in India by the end of 2016, as it steps up efforts to boost its tourism numbers from the Asian nation.
According to the Financial Express, the move is part of various government-led efforts to help stabilize the Gross Domestic Product and lift fortunes of its national currency, the rand, that has taken a beating since late 2015.
‘The number of visa applications from India is increasing and to cater for them, we are opening four new visa application centers in India by the end of this year,” Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism said.
He added that the government is dedicating a lot of attention to visa processing, which is one of the country’s biggest challenges.
The four new centers will increase South Africa’s Visa application centers in India to thirteen.
The government also plans to reduce the load of visa applications by allowing business travelers from India to get a 10-year visa by applying just once. Other frequent travelers will get three-year visas.
The plans include visa exemptions to Indians who hold valid United States and United Kingdom visas or any other nation that has strict visa processes.
It is also considering introduction of e-visas that will do away with the requirement of physical presentation for those applying for visas.
The nation is seeking to ease travel restrictions after operators objected to new rules that require visitors to apply for permits in person and children to carry birth documents when travelling to the Africa’s second biggest economy, Skift reported.
South Africa’s tourism numbers fell in the first nine months of 2015 as the threat of Ebola outbreak, that started in West Africa and new visa requirements came into force in May 2014. Since December 2015, the sector has however been on a recovery path.
According to a Bloomberg report, about two million tourists visited the nation, up from 1.87 million from January to September 2015. The number of visitors from Asia, with key countries such as India and China rose by 15 percent.