Tourism is one of the pillars of the South African economy. We have a beautiful country, and people want to visit it. However, fewer travellers are making their way to Mzansi according to data from the last financial quarter.
How many tourists visit South Africa?
Mike Schussler of economists.co.za has put together the data for tourist arrivals in South Africa over the past few years. His graph shows how visitors emphatically turned their backs on this country, marking one of the worst individual declines seen in recent years.
Thesouthafrican.com, most of 2019 was tough for the industry. Only on the odd occasion did tourist numbers climb positively. Things looked to have turned a corner in Q3 – following 0.75% increase in visitors to SA – only to be wiped out by a decrease of 2% just months later. It represents the worst quarterly decline in three-and-a-half years.
Why are fewer tourists coming to South Africa?
Speaking via his Twitter account, Schussler gave his brief assessment of the situation. He believes a myriad of factors have contributed to these figures, including reports of crime against foreign nationals. A Ukranian hiker was killed on Table Mountain in 2019, whereas a number of tourists are being targeted by criminals who follow them from OR Tambo and back to their accommodation.
Will things get better?
What’s more worrying is that this current graph does not reflect the months of December 2019 or January 2020. The hopes of a quick turnaround could be pegged back by the implementation of Stage 6 load shedding, and the crippling financial woes that have stopped dozens of South African Airways (SAA) flights.
The summer months are likely to be kinder to this particular industry, but nothing is a given here. Once an effortless task, South Africa now faces an almighty job to convince travellers to return to our shores.
According to atqnews.com recent developments at OR Tambo International Airport indicated that travellers, as well as family and friends doing pick-ups at the airport should be more than alert and vigilant.
A former North West DG Professor Job Mokgoro told News24 that he had been robbed after returning from a business trip to Australia.
According to Mokgoro the incident appeared well-orchestrated as he had a hunch that he was being followed after exchanging his forex at OR Tambo International. The robbers allegedly followed him home and took his changed cash, luggage and cellphone.
According to Mokgoro, the four sets of police officers who took his statement all “warned not to make transactions at the airport”.
Also, the management of OR Tambo International Airport it is well aware of and concerned about incidents of crime in the vicinity of the airport noting that people followed to their destinations from the airport.
This is according to Leigh Gunkel-Keuler, senior manager Corporate Affairs at the airport.
“The safety and security of passengers and visitors to OR Tambo International Airport remains of paramount importance to airport management,” said Gunkel-Keuler.
“We are therefore particularly concerned by the latest occurrence of follow-home crime in which two people were shot and wounded.
“It is our understanding that there is a high level of awareness of these matters within the SAPS, which has the responsibility for preventing and investigating crime in and around the airport.”
In a bid to stem the tide of crime at the airport, seven police officers, 34 information desk clerks and eight Gauteng tourism officials were suspended in an on-going “clean-up” of OR Tambo International Airport, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday.
This as a special court for the airport is set to be launched to deal with “aviation-related matters”.
The seven police officers were suspended after they were linked to several crimes at the airport, Mbalula said Mbalula was speaking at a press briefing at the airport surrounding the upgrading of security following months of hijackings, thefts, and murders linked to a syndicate at the airport