Tourism bodies upbeat despite Anni murder

2010-12-14 14:25

Tourists have not been put off visiting South Africa by the murder of Anni Dewani, say tourism experts.

According to Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) CEO, Calvyn Gilfellan, CTRU received six township tour bookings from international tourists in the three days following the murder, and are still receiving bookings.

Proudly South African’s (PSA) Eustace Mshimbye says that continuing interest in South Africa is because the image of the country was raised significantly by the 2010 Fifa World Cup held earlier in the year.

This makes Mshimbye, PSA’s executive for corporate services, optimistic that the murder will not have too much of an effect on South African tourism, as “it will take a really big disaster to damage South Africa’s profile at this stage”.

Gilfellan agrees with Mshimbye when saying: “The World Cup showed that South Africa has the skills and resources to successfully pull off an event of that magnitude and the impressions and legacy of this event will live on in the minds of people all over the world for years to come.”

The tourism industry would usually be one of the first to feel any backlash from a negative perception of the country.

Gilfellan believes that “any negative exposure regarding a criminal incident in destination Cape Town and the Western Cape could affect perception about safety and security”.

However, he does stress that that Dewani’s murder is an isolated incident.

This concern was raised by Cosatu in a press release issued last week.

The trade union said: “The murder appears to have been planned in South Africa on the assumption that hijacking and murder are believed to be so commonplace that it would be easy to stage a murder and then claim that it was just another normal criminal act.”

Cosatu’s statements have been seconded by Mshimbye, who agrees that South Africa is seen as a country where it is crime easily committed, but he says the swift action by the police and justice system is acting as damage control.

However, as pointed out by both tourism bureaus, the full effect on tourism can only be seen after the trial has been completed.

When approached, South African Tourism declined to comment.

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