Tourism sector worried

2008-05-27 00:00

Government had not done enough about the xenophobic attacks that have swept the country and needed to look at crucial issues such as delivery on election promises and putting in place a structured immigration policy, tourism bosses said during a press briefing that was called yesterday to voice ongoing concerns about negative effects on the province’s tourism industry.

Tourism KZN (TKZN) chairman Dr Seshi Chonco and chief executive Ndabo Khoza said although there had been no immediate cancellations, there have been many calls from worried tour operators.

The lack of cancellations was because bodies such as TKZN had updated tour operators consistently and regularly. However, they could not vouch for cancellations of visits that had not been organised through formal channels.

They issued a stiff warning that government needed to get its house in order if it was to protect its tourism sector, which is a key generator of jobs and revenue in a climate that Chonco described as “the poor attacking the poor over a very small piece of bread”.

They said the fallout from recent attacks was likely to be felt in six months time. According to Khoza, April to August marks the low season for foreign tourism and the greatest concern was that the number of bookings for the high season could drop as decision makers reacted to the xenophobia.

“When a consumer is deciding on a destination … safety and security as well as a sense of being welcomed by people … are the most important deciding elements following value for money,” Chonco said.

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