‘80% of SA travellers sneaked in biltong’ ‘80% of SA travellers sneaked in biltong’

2013-10-19 00:00

SOUTH Africans are not the most innocent or well-behaved travellers — a shocking 17% have smuggled narcotics abroad, 24% have lied to a customs official and 80% have tried to sneak biltong into their destination.

This is according to a survey about behaviour conducted by Travelstart South Africa among 10 000 business and leisure travellers.

Nick Paul of Travelstart said: “The theme of this survey was born out of some remarks within the office about which were the most obnoxious travellers overseas. This begged the question as to what South Africans got up to on their travels and if we were perhaps bad travellers as well? We also have a number of customers who have found themselves in hot water while abroad and needed our help to get home. So we decided to investigate what sorts of unreported trouble people had gotten themselves into as well.”

Most of the bad behaviour, they found, however, was not necessarily illegal: 33% of travellers disobeyed “no photos allowed” signs, 18% stole from hotel rooms and three percent had been thrown out their accommodation for various reasons like inviting “private entertainment” into their rooms and skinny dipping in hotel pools at night.

Of course, alcohol fuels a lot of bad behaviour — with people too drunk to find their hotels, urinating in public and sleeping with strangers.

People also do not educate themselves on the customs and laws of the country they are visiting.

Travelstart’s experts warn that serious punishments can be handed down for offences that might seem “minor” back home — especially in countries in the Far and Middle East where drug and alcohol-related offences are not tolerated, and can result in life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

“Think about what you’re doing at all times and respect foreign cultures, even if their laws and customs seem ‘weird’ or ‘silly’. As a general rule, do not do abroad what you wouldn’t do at home, and if you are doing it at home and its illegal, then don’t do it on holiday either,” said Jonty Medcalf, head of Travelstart’s direct sales team.

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