TravTalk - India

E-visas to be a game-changer

While India continues to retain its place among the top three focus markets for South African Tourism, it has the potential to reach the number one source market for the destinatio­n, says Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head, MEISEA, South African Tourism.

- Hazel Jain

Boosting connectivi­ty and ease of travel to South Africa was a core area of focus for the tourism board of the country this year. The destinatio­n, which remains open to Indian travellers, is also processing tourist visas on priority. Also on track is the e-visa pilot programme for India. Neliswa

Nkani, Hub Head, MEISEA, South African Tourism, said, “E-visas are going to be a game-changer for India as a source market for South Africa. It is also the affordabil­ity in terms of air connectivi­ty and direct connection that will put India at number one position immediatel­y.”

Prior to the pandemic, India was the eighth-largest internatio­nal market for South African Tourism.

She re-asserted, “If we get a direct airline that is affordable, and easy to access from the main cities, which is New Delhi

and Mumbai, India will be sitting at number one. I foresee India climbing up to number four in the next 18 months if we continue on this trajectory and we continue to receive the support from the travel trade! This is the market to watch out for.”

At present, several stop- over flights fly from India to South Africa, including Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Air Arabia, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and Air Mauritius. Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune continue to be

top Indian source markets to South Africa, with 48 per cent of total Indian visitors from Mumbai. Forty- five per cent of them travel for business. “We are in the process of testing evisas. Travellers can apply but it must be made clear to them

that it is a pilot programme, so we do not create high expectatio­ns. There might be some teething issue, so please be patient. Alternatel­y, we are currently turning around normal tourist visas in five days,” Nkani added.

 ?? ?? Neliswa Nkani Hub Head, MEISEA South African Tourism
Neliswa Nkani Hub Head, MEISEA South African Tourism
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