Tourism, Cars, Traffic

Wednesday, 28 May 2008 16:16

South African Tourism Remains Strong despite Xenophobic Wave

{pp}After decades of financial isolation South Africa has worked hard since their 1994 establishment of democracy to attract foreign investment, but the recent wave of xenophobic violence has put all this work at threat. However investors, labour force and the tourism industry seem to remain strong despite these incidents.

In recent weeks over 50 foreign immigrants have been killed, with thousands being injured and displaced as violence based on xenophobia reigns in the townships in and around South Africa’s major cities.

This kind of brutality has been deeply criticised by the South African government and around the world. However people are still investing in South Africa as a source of essential resources and as a tourist destination and hope for a positive outcome are strong. South Africa is an emerging financial market and such events cannot be good in the minds of investors. However the weaker Rand has in fact caused more money to come in as there is more money to be made with foreign currency.

There has therefore been more buying than selling in the past few weeks. People are still consuming at a great level and mining lucrative minerals as before. Yes, there have been anxiety by some tourists, especially as Germany, The United States and Sweden issued travel advisories calling for tourists to keep away from central Johannesburg and surrounding township but still tourists flood in wanting to experience all that South Africa has to offer.

South Africa is an extremely popular tourist destination, particularly due to its temperate climate, wildlife, multicultural society and beautiful landscape.

This tourism has contributed greatly to South Africa through investment. Tour operators do, however, feel that if the situation is not dealt with soon, this could seriously impact industry. The ever popular township tour has been affected by the violence, dropping as much as 10% in just 10 days but tours still go on.

The mere fact that CEO of SA Tourism, Moeketsi Mosola has said that 75% of South Africa’s tourist industry comes from Africa itself is bound to also have an affect, but as Mosola says, “no tours have been cancelled” to his knowledge. According to Ndabo Khoza, Chief Executive officer of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, “These xenophobic attacks are a major setback to tourism in SA and KwaZulu-Natal because African tourism is critical to our country.” Tourism contributed as much as R159 billion (£10 billion) last year and is one of the countries biggest employers.

The South African government has a slogan, “South Africa: Alive with possibility”.

But recent xenophobic fuelled violence has caused many to question these sentiments. South Africa, a country that has overcome so much in the past has become extremely fruitful economically and is often referred to as a destination of choice in the worldwide tourist industry. This has not changed dramatically since the violent behaviour began some two weeks ago but if it does not come to an end soon this emerging country could face some financially crippling consequences.

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Published in Tourism, Cars, Traffic

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