The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has urged the local travel and tourism industry to be vigilant amidst the latest string of terror alerts issued by the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia for their citizens visiting and residing in South Africa.
TBCSA Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Mmatšatši Ramawela, says that the Council notes with concern, the terror alerts and the possible negative impact on South Africa’s tourism industry considering that the industry has traded under tough conditions for the past two years. The travel and tourism industry is one of the sectors that are highly dependent on a positive image and perception of the country hence the terror alerts are of concern within the sector. “These terror alerts are the last things our industry need during this time when our industry is showing signs of strong recovery and growth, with a positive outlook for the rest of 2016.” says Ms Ramawela.
At the same time, the Council has noted the response of the South African Government and the South African Police Service (SAPS) on the terror alerts. The Council has also noted with appreciation that in response, the South African security agencies have increased their presence and vigilance at the country’s shopping malls and centres. In addition, shopping mall management are meeting and cooperating with SAPS, as well as national and regional intelligence agencies. “We are very appreciative of the swift response by all our security agencies both in the public and private sector on the terror alerts and wish to express our confidence in their combined abilities to handle the situation if ever the need arises,” says Ms Ramawela.
While the TBCSA doesn’t wish to cause panic in the market place, the Council has however advised its members to be vigilant and to ensure that they put extra measures in place to look after their clientele in view of these terror alerts. To this end, the Council has urged its members to work with the law enforcement agencies and to ensure that they have the latest safety and security information from the various security platforms including the TBCSA’s Tourism Safety Initiative (Tsi) portal.
With its focus on the inbound tourism market, the Council is urging the role players in the industry to keep their partners, associates and clients informed with the latest available information on travel in and out of South Africa. “We live in a world where terrorism is a reality, meaning that no country is immune to this global phenomena”. “As the TBCSA, we will endeavour to get updates from Government, its security agencies and other trusted agencies and use the information to update our members on the terror alerts and more,” concludes Ramawela.
As we head into the holy month of Ramadan, the Council wish to take this opportunity to express its well wishes to fellow citizens and visitors of the Muslim religion.