South Africa Tourism is set to open four new visa application centers in India in 2016 in a bid to cater to the growing number of visa applications from here.
This will take the number of visa application centers of the African nation to 13, up from the present figure of nine. These centers are slated to open by the end of the current year.
The centers’ locations, however, have not yet been disclosed.
South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, talking about this new development, said, “The number of visa applications from India is increasing and to cater to them, we are opening four new visa application centres in India by the end of this year.”
The biggest challenge for that country, according to Hanekom, is processing of visas. They want to offer committed attention to tackle this issue.
South African Tourism’s chief marketing officer Margie Whitehouse, endorsing the same view, said, “Visa processing has been a barrier for us, there has been a strong recovery in visa application from India in the last three months.”
The rainbow country is concentrating on removing the hurdles it faces on this front, adds Whitehouse. She stated, “The future contains great potential in India.”
Hanekom, concurring with Whitehouse, said, “Our efforts are directed at reducing the load of visa applications at our centres in India. We are also working towards relaxing the visa process for Indians. One of our future considerations may be to grant visa exemption to Indians if they hold valid US, UK visas or visa from any country that has stringent visa processes. Furthermore, we are also planning to move in the direction of e-visas.”
Maropene Ramokgopa, a consul general with South African Consulate General, said there was also a plan on the anvil to reduce the burden of visa processes of both business as well as other travelers.
The goal of the plan, which is yet to be implemented, is to lessen the burden of visa applications. When executed, it will let business travelers obtain a 10-year visa with a single application. On the other hand, others who travel frequently to South Africa will get a three-year visa. The burden of visa applications to the African nation from India is expected to come down with this move.
This move will now make it easier for Indians intending to travel to South Africa for business or for tourism purposes.