Travel company continues tours to SA despite group being robbed
The Dutch travel company ANWB will not be stopping tours to South Africa despite a group of Dutch tourists being held up by robbers at the weekend.
ANWB spokesperson Ad Vonk said on Tuesday a new group of Dutch tourists had arrived in South Africa on Monday night.
Thirty-six Dutch tourists were robbed on Sunday night at around 11pm while 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 wearing 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.
"When some were not fast enough‚ they were hit‚" Vonk said.
"A lot of the people don't have anything. Telephones‚ bags‚ luggage‚ a lot of things are gone."
One of the passengers told the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf: "We are safe now. But we are in shock and want to go back. We just landed for a 22-day trip‚ but the fun has gone."
After the robbers left‚ passengers freed themselves‚ said the passenger. The driver had a spare key in the cargo area‚ which he retrieved and drove the tourists to their hotel.
Vonk said the group largely consisted of tourists who were 60 years or older‚ but there were a few women in their late 20s and early 30s. Some of the passengers were treated for their light injuries.
The passports of three passengers were stolen. They were issued with new passports before flying back to the Netherlands on Tuesday afternoon‚ just three days after they arrived.
Vonk said some Dutch tourists have been victims of crime in South Africa before‚ but "nothing on this scale". He said however they are not reconsidering their tours to South Africa‚ because it is "beautiful" country that is popular with Dutch tourists.
A bus picked up the 36 Dutch tourists on Tuesday afternoon at the Zulu Nyala Country Manor in Fourways.
The group is flying back on Tuesday night and will land at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Wednesday around 10.30 am.
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Twitter: "With such high unemployment‚ tourism has to be a priority to attract money into country. I wonder if our President is aware of implications."
Minister Mbalula said earlier on Tuesday in a statement he "condemns the robbery on foreign tourists and views it as an attack to the tourism industry and the economy".