True cost of SA visa debacle

True cost of SA visa debacle

The South African visa situation has already caused leading incentive operator Dragonfly Africa to lose a big booking out of the New Zealand market, and the effects are ongoing.
Yolanda Woeke-Jacobs, director sales and marketing with Dragonfly, says the company lost a booking of 400 people through an incentive company in New Zealand because the extra cost and time involved in fronting up at an office for a visa made the trip uneconomic and impractical. The trip was worth about 10 million rand (more than NZ$1million) to the South African economy, not counting airfares.

‘So that is a concrete example that we have already seen.’
The situation has been causing industry angst in New Zealand since it was ruled last year travellers need to visit Wellington to secure visas. Last month, The South African High Commission announced a second centre was opening in Auckland.
Nonetheless, Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) chief executive officer Andrew Olsen then said the new centre wasn’t enough, and applications need to go online.
And Woeke-Jacobs, at the Destination Marketing Services DMS Connect roadshow in Auckland early March says damage continues to be done, adding she found that all of the New Zealand buyers at the event were talking about the visas.
‘Basically South Africa is off the table for New Zealand groups, it is not even being considered. It is very disappointing for us after so many years of investing in this market.’
Woeke-Jacobs says she understands the requirement for visas. ‘But make it simple, put it online, don’t make people physically travel to an office to obtain the visa.’

– By Stu Freeman

ProMag