New immigration regulations – Three questions for ‘the Tourism Terminator’ …

Dave Marsh writes in  South African Tourism Update: 
They are calling Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, the Tourism Terminator.
Unmoved by the evidence and growing alarm in the travel and tourism sectors about new immigration regulations, he has just reaffirmed in a joint statement with Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism, that they will be introduced almost unchanged on October 1.
Our main source markets for tourism will be hard hit. Most do not require a visa and tourists will depart for SA armed only with a passport. With no need to call on an SA mission, why would they think otherwise. If they are travelling with a minor they may get as far as the last leg before they are denied boarding. They will return home shattered, litigating with their travel agent and airline. There will be negative travel trade press coverage in each market about this extraordinary regulation.
SA requires the citizens of most countries to have a visa. They plan to have all our missions enabled to fingerprint and photograph applicants by October 1. They are talking about increasing the number of centres but where and when they themselves do not know at this stage – and it will not be in time.
With biometric visas issued at relatively few centres worldwide, it effectively ends the convention and group tour business as we know it. This will now be limited to those events or tours where all the participants come from the visa-free markets. An international event organiser would be foolish to ask delegates to go to a destination if it meant some of them would have to fly to another centre, or even another country, to be fingerprinted as part of the process for a visa.
Mr Minister, we have three simple questions:
 1) When you say the unabridged birth certificate requirement is not uncommon in other countries, please name the countries, as we have heard of none.
2) When you say you have consulted over these regulations, please tell us with which tourism bodies and when.
 3) Independent fact-checking organisation, Africa Check, has investigated claims that over 30 000 children are being trafficked into prostitution in SA each year. It followed up and found the NGOs were making wildly exaggerated claims to capture public attention and generate moral outrage. Ivo Vegter in the Daily Maverick reported that only a very small number of cases could be substantiated by evidence, according to the analysis. Of those, many appear to have taken place entirely within South Africa, without involving any international air travel. It is not a basis for policy. So Mr Minister, what details do you have about the international aspect of this child trafficking scourge?
We may be wrong but we think the minister cannot answer any of these questions satisfactorily.
David Frost, SATSA CEO, has pointed out that there was no process of active consultation with the tourism industry. “Nor have we had sight of any economic or regulatory impact assessment study from Home Affairs,” he says.
SATSA is lobbying for a 12 month postponement. “To this end we will be working closely with our fellow associations, ASATA, BARSA, SAVRALA and AASA, through the auspices of the TBCSA,” says Frost.
As this issue went to press, the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) confirmed in a statement that it had questioned the effectiveness of the anti-child trafficking measures and also asked for a 12-month grace period.
 The letter requesting a meeting with the minister that ASATA sent last month, together with four other major industry bodies, has been ignored – not even acknowledged.
 We are hopeful that this madness will be stopped, because the process and foundation for this policy are so flawed that the courts would throw it out if it is challenged.
By Dave Marsh South African Tourism Update 7th August 2014
Liz at Lancaster has already had two cancellations from travellers who could not get visas.
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But we don’t have any geese …. ?

2014 The Camdeboo

 

If you want to escape Joburg  while never leaving it – try the Peach Café at Camdeboo farm. Tucked away in the middle of suburbia, a mere 3km from the mayhem of Fourways Mall and the frenetic concrete highway, is a rustic small holding with sheep and geese and, in season, peaches for the picking.  The first blossoms were just bursting when we were there for brunch. The Peach Café offers a small menu  with good wholesome food from the farm (with lots of sustenance for vegetarians) and great flat bread freshly baked in the pizza oven.

It’s chilled and laid back with a real country feel.  (The service could do with being a little less laid back.) Don’t expect anything chichi or zhoozh (why do I have to choose words I really don’t know how to spell?) – it’s rustic, unpretentious and down to earth.  Described on its website http://www.camdeboofarm.co.za/ as:

Wonderful farm experience in the middle of busy Joburg – rustic surrounds, gourmet food, delicious wood-fired pizza, seasonal peach picking and a farmstyle shop filled to the brim with preserves and homemade goodies.

2014 Camdeboo menu

When one of our party said ‘And you can even buy goose food’. Her husband looked at her in a bemused fashion and said “But we don’t have any geese.”  We explained gently it was to buy for the children to  feed the geese.  Fortunately, these assertive animals are safely but very noisily constrained behind fencing – no terrified toddlers being chased by squawking feathered monsters with flapping wings, out-stretched necks and snapping orange beaks.

 So for a chilled week-end brunch or lunch make your way there – and there is a play area for kids too.

 

 

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Liz at Lancaster: ‘one of the most sought after & memorable destinations in Johannesburg’

Liz and her team are proud of the accolades from the AA Assessor .  Our service standards are recognized as ‘a benchmark in the industry’  which is high praise indeed. The full report follows below:

AA 2014 QACheck-in Once again, Liz at Lancaster is ranked #1 on Trip Advisor in a category comprising some 230 other establishments in Johannesburg – congratulations to the Team!  Excellent communications.  

General Efficiency   The excellent efficiency of Liz, Zac, Catherine and Thandie is best reflected by the review of an Australian guest: “Absolutely nothing is overlooked. I guarantee that if you need something, it will be in your room somewhere.”

Cleanliness   Overall of excellent levels – particularly when considering the extent of the guest suite appointments and the exceptional occupancies maintained at this establishment. Detailing includes outdoor doormats plus indoor dust-trapper mat, defrosted fridges etc.

Maintenance  New: Older-style security doors on each unit and main core access doors replaced with unobtrusive Trellidoors – excellent effect & functionality. All bathrooms fitted with extendable vanity mirrors. Excellent overall maintenance.

To Check: Earth – cornice above shower; any outdoor doormat wear; any light fray on selected bath mats; Coral – chrome shower stay – rust prevention? Ochre – wall mark to right of headboard.  [We are dealing/have dealt with these issues.]

Friendliness   Outstanding – the perfect balance between friendliness and professionalism.

Local Knowledge   Excellent. “Liz, a mine of information on where to go, what to do, a great help when it came to organising everything we wanted to do into two weeks, her advice is invaluable.”

Service Efficiency  Not an overnight stay, but Liz and her team’s unerring service standards – reflected in guest commentary – are a benchmark in the industry and a cornerstone of her exceptional success.

Bedrooms (Type 1)   Exceptionally well maintained and absolutely nothing has been overlooked in the way of appointments. However, layouts, storage and interior design preclude any unit seeming to be cluttered. Excellent in all respects.

Bathrooms (Type 1)  All fittings, fixtures, linen and amenities are top-drawer items in excellent condition.

Public Areas   Warm, wonderful main core interiors comprise Breakfast room and lounge – leading to the pool garden, or provide a refuge from the winter at one of the fireplaces. Lovely ambiance. Each unit has a charming private, secure courtyard – most with sun loungers – with dining table/chairs, ashtray and most attractive decor. Excellent.

Building Exterior   First impression of excellent attention to maintenance. The recent addition of a curtain of wired pebbles along the parking wall sets the tone of Liz’s attention to every detail of her guests’ experience.

Parking  Brick paving in sound condition – no oil stains; demarcated, shade-cloth covered bays; well lit, close to accommodation.  Zac’s business is to provide transfers etc. – and the guest commentary on this service is glowing – congrats Zac!

Grounds & Gardens   From the indigenous-focus verge, through to the unit courtyards with their potted plants and the charming access garden with water feature, the grounds are immaculately maintained and offer a sense of ease and tranquility.

Security   Every possible measure is in place – down to signage indicating any area which could be slippery when wet. Excellent.

Food Quality  Food not experienced, but quality cafetiere coffee served – thank you. Guest reviews reveal the highest satisfaction with breakfast service and quality. Each unit has extensive appointments for self-catering; units very neatly packed, all items and appliances in sound condition.

Overall  The proposed, unequivocal Superior endorsement is subject to the approval of the committee.

Commendations   Succinctly stated by Cath from the UK: “I could write for ever but still not convey how wonderful Liz at Lancaster is.  All I can say is stay there and find out for yourself – I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.” Superior in all respects, Liz at Lancaster continues to be one of the most sought-after and memorable destinations in Johannesburg. We are truly proud of your invaluable contribution to the hospitality industry Liz. Thank you.

Concerns  None.

Web Review  Outstanding web site!

So thank you to all our guests who keep coming back;  to those who refer us to their friends and colleagues; and to those of you who have written reviews on TripAdvisor. It makes a huge difference to get your feedback and for other travellers to get a sense (from a fellow traveller’s perspective) of what we offer.  Next year will be Liz at Lancaster’s 20th anniversary.

 

 

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