South African Tourism (SAT), boss Thekiso Rakolojane has said the country is prioritizing the issuance of visas to tourists from Nigeria, India and china to ensure that incidences of visa delay experienced by tourists from these countries especially Nigeria is addressed.
Speaking to atqnews.com in his office in Lagos, the newly appointed Hub Head for South African Tourism, West Africa, said the issue of visa is not exclusive to SAT adding that a task team has been put in place to look at ways and means of how the current visa challenges can be addressed.
He stated that the visa challenge being experienced by tourists from Nigeria is receiving presidential attention.
He said the agency has competent and professional people that have been saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the process of visa issuance is hitch free noting that work is being done to standardize the process.
He said: “The issue of visas really is not a challenge that is exclusive to us in South African tourism but also West Africa. It’s actually a challenge that is so important to us that it’s actually receiving a presidential attention. I do know that there is a task team that has been put in place to look at specifically Nigeria, India and China in terms of ways and means of how the current visa challenges can be addressed.
“In the interim while the micro issues are been looked at in terms of addressing the issue of visa challenges, we do have particular people who have the competency and have been tasked with the responsibilities of overseeing the visa process which in this case is the Consular General as well as the high commissioner.
“So the way we engage or rather the way we approach the current issues that are been experienced by our partner is by ongoing engagement to show you how important it is. As a matter of fact at my very first meeting when I got into the market was to go visit the Consular General just to understand where we are in terms of the issue of visas and to share also with him some of the operational challenges that have been brought to our attention by our partners just so that there is an ongoing sharing of information between us.
“One thing that we are committed to including the consular general is the ongoing engagement with our trade partners with the view of as and when these issues are being resolved, particularly because this market has high influx of applications. And for the longest of time there has been this despairing view in terms of the efficiency in which the processing happens, where we can get to a point where we can standardize the process. What that standardization looks like I’m not at liberty and I not sure how that is going to be but I know that eventually we will get to a position where we can find a common way of solving this.”