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New regulations may kill family tourism to South Africa

July 25, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Agents are concerned about the likely effect of strict new regulations introduced by South Africa for tourism to that country. The new rules, which massively increase paperwork for anyone travelling in and out of South Africa with children, may drastically slow or curtail family travel to Southern Africa.

From 1 October 2014 parents with children under 18 will have to carry a long-form birth certificate – in English – for each child, that shows both parents’ names.

For single parents, or those travelling alone with their child, the requirements are even more stringent. Such travellers will need to produce one of the following:

  • A sworn affidavit showing that the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel;
  • A court order granting full parental responsibilities; or
  • The death certificate of the absent parent.

The new measures have a good intent – they are being introduced to combat the scourge of child trafficking. Many in the travel industry, however, fear the rules will present such a bureaucratic hassle that leisure family travellers just won’t visit South Africa at all. They will go elsewhere.

The new rules require all documents presented to be originals or approved copies no older than three months from the date of travel. If under-18s are travelling with anyone other than their parents, the accompanying person must also carry affidavits from the parents or legal guardians, as well as copies of the parents’ passports and their contact details.

Travellers don’t need to be accompanied by lawyers yet, but the rules seem to be approaching that.

The new rules were due to take force 1 July 2014, but were moved back until October to give travellers extra time to apply for the documents.

Written by Peter Needham

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