Africa: SA remains safe and “preferred tourist destination” – says tourism minister

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Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Friday reassured tourists that it is safe to travel to South Africa and that their safety remains a top priority for the South African government.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said that, despite a few isolated incidents “which paint South Africa negatively,” the country is still a preferred destination when it comes to wedding receptions, honeymoons and cultural events.

South Africa a popular tourist destination
She added that lifestyle, music and cultural events – including the film industry – still draws a significant number of international travellers, despite the negativity.

She said that spreading unsubstantiated rumours about the tourists’ safety in South Africa will only affect the economy and job creation. That said, authorities are determined to clamp down on criminal behaviour.

Ukrainian tourist killed in Cape Town
This week, two more suspects were arrested in connection with the murder of a Ukrainian tourist who was stabbed to death in Cape Town.
The 43-year-old hiker, Ivan Ivanov, was robbed of his backpack and stabbed to death near the East Fort at popular tourist spot Chapman’s Peak in Hout Bay, Cape Town.

The suspects, aged 24 and 25, are believed to be local residents of Hout Bay. The 24-year-old suspect was arrested at the harbour during the early hours on Wednesday morning, 25 July. His accomplice was arrested on Saturday.

They are two of three suspects who are believed to have stabbed Ivan Ivanov during his weekend hike. The vicious killing also became a robbery, after they stole the belongings the tourist had upon his person and also snatched his backpack.”

Tourists targeted at South African airports
There have also been reports of tourists travelling from O.R. Tambo International Airport being targeted by armed robbers after touching down at the busy airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Kubayi-Ngubane said law enforcement agencies in South Africa are leaving no stone unturned in the investigations. She said police took swift action to ensure that the “perpetrators are arrested within a reasonable time.” Kubayi-Ngubane added:

“The department is currently finalizing the safety strategy that will be launched in a few coming weeks as announced in the budget vote in June.”

Tourism contributes to the economy
The minister called on citizens and communities to “isolate those who try to portray South Africa in a negative manner.” Suspicious incidents should be reported without delay. Kubayi-Ngubane added:

“As tourists come into the country, they contribute to our economy and job creation; hence we must at all times ensure they enjoy a typical proudly South African experience and feel welcomed on our shores.”

by Cheryl Kahla
Source: thesouthafrican.com

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