The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
Not long after plans were announced to introduce a single visa system for Southern Africa, there is talk of a single currency for the region as well.
These moves, along with the development of cross-border transfrontier parks, are an inevitable consequence of regional integration. They also serve to grow the region`s economy and tourism by essentially making it easier for goods and tourists to move between member states.
But would a single visa and currency have any real benefit for the average international tourist? Gillian Saunders, Principal in Grant Thornton’s Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure consulting division, says it will. She says, a single currency would make aspects of a tourist’s trip easier, but “it is unlikely to influence more people to travel to the region or to visit more countries on their trip”. A single visa however, is another story. “It would have a bigger impact on tourists,” explains Saunders, adding that if tourists no longer need to apply for three, four or even five visas to visit the region, they would be more likely to include more countries.
Dominic Hoole, director of hospitality, leisure and tourism at KPMG, says a single visa would be feasible and in principle a good idea. He says it would create the perception in a tourist’s mind that something is being done to make travel into and through the region easier.
But at the end of the day, says Hoole, whatever the perceived benefits, they do not mean much unless the whole system is easy. “There needs to be one point of contact and one authority” This is also one of the biggest challenges to getting the systems off the ground – aligning all the visa and immigration policies across the Southern African Development Community (SADC). But if the region can get it right, both Hoole and Saunders agree, it would be a boon for tourism.