'The Republic of South Africa intends to introduce visa requirements for diplomatic and official passport holders of the United Kingdom.' Picture: Damaris Helwig

Introducing electronic visas across Africa would boost tourism to, and within, Africa, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said.

“The bureaucracy and costs involved in applying for and issuing visas are a major impediment to foreigners wishing to visit our shores and to our own people to travel on our continent,” Van Schalkwyk said, according to a copy of a speech delivered at the Routes Africa conference in the Seychelles.

He said technology would help in developing high security measures while creating efficient travelling. There were also numerous opportunities to accelerate the creation of regional visa schemes.

“This would allow our international visitors and intra-African travellers to move more freely and efficiently, to the benefit of our continent.”

He said currently African destinations were dependent on air arrivals from economically hard-pressed traditional markets overseas.

“Many of these airline hubs on which we depend tax our international travellers like cash cows... let’s rather unlock the potential of airlift on our continent,” he said. - Sapa