On average, 40 people a day are turned away from travelling to South Africa because of continued confusion surrounding the requirement for unabridged birth certificates (UBC) for minors travelling to the country, says Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) CEO, David Frost, from statistics he received from SAA.
SATSA is taking the government to task over its failure to implement the lifting – announced six months ago – of the unabridged birth certificate (UBC) requirements. In the latest incident, three concerts and a music workshop of acclaimed US high school choir, The Main Street Singers, had to be cancelled in Gauteng after the choir was prevented from travelling to South Africa because of confusion surrounding unabridged birth certificates.
Recently Delta Air Lines denied boarding to 27 minors in a group of 41 people travelling with Africa Deluxe Tours (Afrilux) from San Francisco via Atlanta to Johannesburg. Afrilux owner, Mike Smuts, said the choir was well informed of their travel document requirements. He said a Delta supervisor later admitted to the tour leader that they should have been allowed to board their flight. The choir was due to arrive to continue their tour around the country, but payments for two nights’ accommodation in Sandton and venue fees at the Sandton International Convention Centre had to be forfeited.
Frost says they need to address ‘market access and barrier removal’. Apart from raising the UBC issue, Frost intends to propose that six-month visas be issued in future to 50 000 British, German and Scandinavian ‘swallows’, who currently visit South Africa annually for two months and 28 days only, the same duration as their current tourist visas.
Compiled By: Melissa Jane Cook. Source By: Hilka Birns. Image: Pixabay