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African Currents
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Is Unified Visa Key to Southern Africa's Economic Prosperity?

Is Unified Visa Key to Southern Africa's Economic Prosperity?
Southern Africa boasts a vast, diverse and flourishing ecosystem, which makes it a prime tourist destination. Recognizing the need for enhanced regional integration and socio-economic development, countries in the subregion have embraced a unified visa regime to unlock tourism's full potential to drive economic growth.
Tourism is regarded as "a vital economic pillar" for the "KAZA region" [Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area]. A single visa system has been adopted to "increase tourist foothold" and "regional trade" in Southern Africa, Dr. Margaret Monyani, Senior Migration Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, explains to Sputnik Africa.

"The implementation of what we have now, the KAZA Uni-visa [...] exemplifies the potential of simplified travel logistics in reducing costs and administrative hurdles for international tourists," Dr. Monyani notes.

The researcher also lauded the just-concluded BRICS Tourism Forum and the current efforts of member countries to facilitate travel between them, leverage modern technology and digital tools, and implement environmental standards for tourism within the bloc.
"Economic growth is often driven by the movement of people, capital, goods, those three. And tourism is a vital component of this movement. [...] For instance, as more tourists travel between BRICS nations, demand for local products and services increases, leading to job creation and higher income levels," she says.
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