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South Africa tourism sends mixed signals


But there are reasons 2016 could be a great year
South Africa’s tourism sector is staging a strong recovery after a shaky 2015, helped by a weak local currency and last year’s restrictive visa rules being stopped.
But now the country’s sports minister has banned South African sports teams from hosting international sports events – a move that could stop South Africa hosting big tournaments like the 2023 rugby World Cup.
Minister Fikile Mbalula says that because South African teams remain largely white more than two decades after the end of apartheid, the country’s rugby, athletics, cricket and netball federations will not be allowed to bid for international tournaments.
Foreign arrivals fell by nearly 7% last year, partly due to the new visa regulations, which demanded that children travel with full birth certificates and that tourists from some countries, such as China, appear in person at a South African embassy. The government relaxed some of these rules in October.
Meanwhile, the national currency the rand fell 25% in value during last year, making trips there more affordable.
More than a million tourists visited South Africa in January, up 15% from the same month last year, and there was an 18% rise in February.


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