Tourist safety under spotlight as SA sees drop in bookings
Parliament - Attacks on tourists in South Africa continues to impact on perceptions of the country as a tourism destination, MPs heard on Tuesday.
Parliament's portfolio committees on police and tourism were holding a workshop with stakeholders on tourist safety and security in the wake of several attacks on tourists, including the murder of a Ukrainian tourist at Chapman's Peak, Cape Town, which made international headlines.
Blacky Komani, chairman of Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), told MPs the murder of Ivan Ivanov, the Ukrainian citizen, led to a "material loss of tourism bookings".
Similarly, other incidents of violent crimes against tourists resulted in perceptions of safety in South Africa taking a dip among visitors.
Snap surveys of tourism operators revealed that another concern was tourists being followed from airports and robbed. Fifty such cases were reported over the past three years.
A desktop survey in Mpumalanga, which is home to the Kruger National Park, revealed at least 10 tourists were hijacked between June and July this year, said Komani.
He told MPs one of the key shortcomings was not responding adequately following incidents.
"One of the issues that we don't do well is to deal with a crisis and communicate correctly when a crisis happens."
TBCSA was engaging with Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane to see if part of the levies collected from operators are not just used for marketing, but go towards creating infrastructure, like cameras and a monitoring centre, to deal with crime targeting tourists.
"We are prepared to put money and work with the SA Police Service and Department of Tourism to combat this crime," Komani said.
African News Agency (ANA)