by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – THE South African tourism fraternity is irate at the fatal shooting of a German visitor in the Mpumalanga province on Monday.
Details were sketchy at the time of publishing but the tourist was one of four travellers making their way to one of the country’s top tourism attractions in the eastern province.
The murder reinforces why crime tops the list of factors that tourists have raised as a concern when choosing South Africa as a destination.
It is also a massive blow for Tourism South Africa, at a time the country was receiving a large number of tourists from Germany, which the agency confirmed was one of the factors the tourism sector had been able to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wish to express our sympathy and extend our support to the family and friends who have had such a devastating experience in our country,” Themba Khumalo, South African Tourism Acting Chief Executive Officer, commiserated.
“South Africans are welcoming people and this criminal behavior is inconsistent with our warm and welcoming spirit which is our innate way of life,” he added.
Khumalo said the protection of all tourists was immensely important to the agency and therefore SA Tourism continued to consult the South African Police Services (SAPS) and all related authorities in that regard.
At a recent gathering of tourism industry leaders, the sector called for South Africa’s security cluster to help in bolstering tourism safety and acting promptly against acts of criminality that affect the sector’s potential.
“Violence against tourists is equivalent to economic crimes such as stealing copper cables and gold. Something must be done urgently,” said Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
Tourism leaders are planning a meeting with the security cluster to discuss plans to ensure tourist safety are fast tracked ahead of the usually busy summer
Germany is South Africa’s third biggest overseas market for tourists, behind the United States and United Kingdom.
It is inside the top ten overall.
In 2019, pre-COVID, 322 720 tourists from Germany visited South Africa.
– CAJ News