Dutch tour bus robbery will impact negatively on local tourism: SATSA

26 September 2017 - 18:19 By Penwell Dlamini
Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, visited the tourists this afternoon to get a first-hand account of what happened.
Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, visited the tourists this afternoon to get a first-hand account of what happened.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/THE TIMES

The Southern Africa Tourism Association (Satsa) says an incident involving a group of Dutch tourists being robbed on a bus at the weekend will have a negative impact on the local tourism sector.

Satsa’s CEO David Frost said such an incident would affect the tourism sector’s image abroad.

“It is obviously not good for anybody. It is not good for our image. Exactly what impact it will have [on tourism] we don’t know. It is clearly not going to have a positive impact.

“What was good is that there was a very coordinated response from South African Tourism‚ SATSA and many of the SATSA members to sort the issue out as quickly as we could.

“When an incident like this occurs‚ we have to sit down and use it as a learning opportunity. I’m very encouraged that the Minister of Police went to visit the tourists this afternoon because he will get a first-hand account of what happened.

“The important thing is that we all need to sit down with the minister and his top team to actually sort out pre-emptive measures and operative procedures that will prevent these things from happening again‚” said Frost.

Frost was reacting to the incident where 36 Dutch tourists were robbed on Sunday night around 11pm on their way from OR Tambo International Airport to their hotel in Fourways‚ Johannesburg.

Their bus was allegedly stopped by a police marked vehicle with one man dressed in a police uniform and the other five dressed in civilian clothing.

The hands and feet of the bus driver and the tour leader were tied up with cable ties. Five men boarded the bus and stole whatever they could.

According to Statistics SA‚ in June 2017‚ the Netherlands ranked ninth on the list of top 10 countries in terms of tourists visiting South Africa.

The distribution of overseas tourists indicate that the US led with 36‚155 (23.8%) followed by the United Kingdom (UK) with 19‚072 (12.6%) and Germany with 10‚677 (7%) taking the third spot.

Australia came in fourth at 9‚887 (6.5%); India was fifth with 8‚874 (5.8%); France took the sixth position with 7‚491 (4.9%); China came seventh with 6‚019 (4%) seventh; Brazil came in eighth with 5‚710 (3.8%); The Netherlands ninth with 4‚994 (3.3%) and Canada took the 10 position with 3‚493 (2.3%).

Tourists from these ten countries constituted 74.1% of all tourists from overseas countries.

The data also showed that The Netherlands was one of the three countries (the other two being China and India) in the top 10 which registered a decline in the number of tourists visiting South Africa during the month of June.

Statistics SA will release its new figures on Thursday.

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