Plans to introduce a single visa for tourists visiting the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region are at an advanced stage.
Details of the plan are expected to be finalized during the 20th United Nations (UN) World Tourism Organisations, currently being held at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The SADC Univisa will allow free access to all 15 SADC countries.
Zimbabwe Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi compares it with Europe’s Schengen visa, which also allows access to several countries.
“The Visa is expected to be ready by next year. It will mean free access to southern Africa,” says Mzembi.
He says that 150 out of 155 countries will be participating in this project.
“This is a policy conference for tourism ministers but there are special guests in attendance for the ministerial conference such as the president of Malawi, Joyce Banda,” he added.
Mzembi says that Banda will be joined by the vice presidents of Zimbabwe and Zambia John Nkomo and Guy Scott, respectively.
SADC has 15 member states, one of whose membership is currently suspended:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo – since 8 September 1997
- Mauritius – since 28 August 1995
- Namibia – since 31 March 1990 (since independence)
- Seychelles – also previously been a member of SADC from 8 September 1997 until 1 July 2004 then joined again in 2008.
- South Africa – since 30 August 1994
- Madagascar – Membership currently suspended after the coup d’état led by the former mayor of Antananarivo Andry Rajoelina
Date: 27 August 2013