The Mount Nelson Hotel and its guests were robbed. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – The  Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) said it was worried about the effect the robbery at the Mount Nelson Hotel could have on the industry.

Fedhasa chairperson Jeff Rosenberg said they had offered their support to the renowned hotel after the robbery on Tuesday.

A gang of 15 robbed guests, staff and a jewellery store. The store has been on the premises since 2012.

Rosenberg said: “We are deeply concerned by the incident and the ripple effect this had on the industry. The industry, along with partners such as the Western Cape government, Wesgro and the City of Cape Town, has been engaged in ongoing efforts to address crime impacting the tourism industry and have committed to working together to ensure security within the industry.”

Meanwhile, the DA’s shadow Tourism MEC, Manny de Freitas, reiterated that the incident was “really bad for tourism as bad news travels fast”.

“I will bring up this matter at the portfolio committee meeting and look at how can we make things better. I will also be meeting the Finance and Economic Development MEC, David Maynier, on what can we do to try to mitigate the situation.

“It is about increasing police visibility, more security measures and vigilance,” said de Freitas.

But Johan Burger, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), warned that any type of crime had a negative impact on tourism.

“On a daily basis, visitors enquire at their embassies about the safety of certain countries. In 2010, we received an astronomical amount of enquiries from tourists about the safety of South Africa when they came in their thousands to support their teams,” he said.

“Western Cape is the province with the second highest murder rate. Now with the introduction of the army it creates the impression of how bad crime has deteriorated (there).

“The Mount Nelson robbery sent out a message to the world that ‘you can come to the province at your own risk because even at the top hotels, you are not safe’.”

On Thursday night the spokesperson for Belmond, the global group which owns the hotel, said this was the second reported robbery since the jewellery shop opened in 2012.

“The first incident happened in March 2018. We have done a full security review and have taken steps to ensure that decent security is in place.”

Cape Argus