SARS Impact on South Africa as a Travel Destination

Written by Jamie du Plessis

The steady recovery that the industry is witnessing is an opportunity for South Africa to promote itself as a travel destination and increase tourism within the country. However, in light of recent events regarding SARS-issued announcements recently on the implementation of a new online traveller declaration system from 1 November, it may negatively impact any tourism recovery plans and the flow of inbound and outbound travel. 

SATSA responded that they did receive a statement from Mark Kingon, Head of Stakeholder Relations Integrity and Anti-Corruption at SARS, who apologised for the “confusion” caused by the publication last week on the SARS website and media reports and queries.

“I do recognise that you as an industry have been through significant turmoil in the last few years, and in no way does SARS want to add to this burden,” he said.

He further committed SARS to consult with the industry and a “seamless process” that is “professional” while “assisting the risk aspects” they are seeking to address.

SATSA is communicating with the SARS Commissioner to ascertain full clarity; they clarified that it was to delay the stated 1 November implementation date notably. Many questions have erupted from recent events. 

Some of these questions involve how it will affect domestic and international travellers and whether tax implications are involved. Other prominent questions are whether the event is based on miscommunication regarding the grey listing of South Africa from the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements and why other countries have not implemented such drastic changes. 

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