Tourism Minister of South Africa, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, recently visited Nigeria to interact with tour operators, media and other stakeholders in Lagos.
During discussions, she revealed that President Cyril Ramaphosa has given a directive to the tourism ministry to double domestic arrivals to over 21 million by 2030. Part of ways to achieve this is to ease the visa application process.
“South Africa is committed to strengthening partnerships and driving collaborations that will help forge a stronger cultural exchange between the people of these two West African countries (Nigeria and Ghana) and the people of South Africa, that’s why from the first quarter of 2020, people intending to travel to South Africa can apply for a visa online.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this means that anyone who needs a visa to come to South Africa will be able to do that from the comfort of their homes; apply online and within a few days you get your visa approved,” she said.
Kubayi-Ngubane served briefly as the Minister of Communications in 2017 up until February 2018, when she was announced as Minister of Science and Technology. Following the May 2019 elections, she was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa as the Minister of Tourism.
The minister’s visit to Nigeria was an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss issues and find lasting solutions to challenges.
The programme of the day was directed by the deputy high commissioner of South Africa, Bobby Monroe, who appreciated guests for taking out time to welcome the Minister of Tourism.
He mentioned that the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria has improved since President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit to South Africa to meet with President Ramaphosa and take part in a Nigerian-South African business forum.
According to Kubayi-Ngubane, there is a great need to advance bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Africa in the creative industry to achieve remarkable success for the two nations and the African continent.
The minister said South Africa regretted the tensions experienced in the last couple of months, and that the authorities have taken steps to ensure it is not repeated.
“I want you all to know that South Africa is open for visitors from Nigeria and other parts of the world as against insinuations by many that the country is repelling visitors,” she said.
Considering Nigeria as one of South Africa’s biggest markets after China and India, Kubayi-Ngubane positioned South Africa as a destination of choice for West Africans who would like to travel for business, leisure and other related activities.
South Africa’s Consul General in Lagos, Mr Darkey Africa, said that South Africa is committed to reuniting both nations through a proper exploration of the tourism industry as Nigeria and South Africa must work together to achieve remarkable growth.
“We want to see movies where Nigerians and South Africans will collaborate to produce, speaking in their unique and distinct accents to tell the world that we have greater things for the future of the two countries and Africa,” Darkey said.