TBCSA tackles ORTIA airport queues

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has compiled a number of recommendations to address the issue of airport queues as a result of the implementation of the Amended Immigration Regulations.

To ease the congestion at airports, especially at OR Tambo International Airport, in the short term, the TBCSA recommends the creation of a positive and welcoming ambiance at immigration zones.  This could be through the use of ushers (thus employing young people to welcome tourists) to help direct the visitors to the correct immigration queues; to provide them with refreshments such as water; and also with relevant information pertaining to their visit and destination to South Africa.

The TBCSA further also suggests the setting-up of video infotainment and entertainment; and having kiosks where tourists can buy snacks and other beverages whilst waiting in queues.

The TBCSA and SA Tourism have offered to cover the financial costs of the provision of ushers through the Welcome Campaign programme and also to assist in securing sponsors and/or partners to provide the suggested refreshments (water) if needed.

Furthermore, the Council proposes the adoption of a system that was used during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, where airport immigration services enlisted SAPS assistance.  The idea is that immigration officials who currently work in the departure section (emigration zones) could be moved to the arrivals section (immigration zone), thus increasing the staff capacity in the arrivals section and alleviating congestion.

In the medium to long-term TBCSA urges the DHA to work speedily with National Treasury, Public Service and Administration and Tourism to resolve the procedural and budget issues pertaining to allocation of personnel.

TBCSA’s recommendations were presented during a meeting of the National Tourism Minister with Captains of Industry on the 9th of November 2016.