‘Note ban hit Indians tourists’ visit to South Africa’

Bengaluru: Note ban and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the Indian government have reduced the number of Indian tourists visiting South Africa last year, a South African tourism official said on Thursday.

“South Africa witnessed a slowdown in terms of the number of bookings from Indians in 2017 as a result of demonetisation and the GST,” South Africa Tourism’s acting head for India and South East Asia Alpa Jani told IANS here.

India is the eighth largest market for South African tourism after Britain, the US, Germany, China, Australia and the Netherlands.

While during 2016, 95,400 Indians had visited South Africa, only 89,872 had visited the country from January to November in 2017. For the whole year of 2017, the official expects the total number of Indian tourists to reach around 96,000.

“We had expected around 100,000 Indian tourists visiting South Africa in 2017, but after the note ban we noticed that Indians were sceptical of travelling due to lack of cash,” Jani said.

A 60-member team from South African Tourism department was visiting the city on Thursday as part of a multi-city road show to showcase the tourism in the southernmost country of the African continent.

It expects to see 100,000 Indians visiting the country in 2018.

Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg are some of the most popular destinations for Indian travellers.

The high value currency note ban in November 2016 and the new indirect tax regime (GST) in 2017 had slowed down the Indian economy, according to the Economic Survey for 2017-18.