South African tourism index drops on visa restrictions

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's tourism business index in the second quarter dropped its lowest level in nearly four years due to new visa restrictions, an industry body said on Monday, in a blow to a key sector in Africa's most developed economy.

New legislation requiring foreigners to provide biometrics when applying for visas and parents to carry unabridged birth certificates when travelling with children contributed to a drop in tourism activity, the Tourism Business Council said.

The Tourism Business Index, which tracks performance in South Africa's tourism sector, has been running since 2010.

The tourism sector posted an index score of 83.6 in the second quarter, compared with 99.9 in the first quarter and the lowest since the third quarter 2011.

An index score of 100 is regarded as an indication of normal levels of trade.