Posted on 18 March – Forums /General /Crime & Hospitality Security:
Tourism Offices Posting Crime Stats blatantly in the face of potential tourists and visitors
We need to crow-bar the lid off this “Crime Stat” confusion as regards tourism.
Why do tourism offices insist on posting their dirty washing (SA crime stats) blatantly in the face of potential tourists and visitors to our shores?
This question needs to be answered. Is it fair that a very small minority (approximately 2.5% of the population), hell bent on crime in one form or another, hold the country to ransom?
The question begs a well published answer.
How many visitors to our shores were impacted by violent crime by one of the world’s most violent countries?
Please can you publish this for all SATSA members and South Africans involved in promoting this country for tourism – the reality of this for the past 1 year, 5 years and 10 years based on the ratio of visitors to our shores?
If we base the crime stats on the current incoming tourism stats of approximately 7 million-+ visitors then surely we must be one of the safest countries in the world to travel in? How many of these “tourists” are reporting violent crime?
Look at the incredible lack of violent crime over the World Cup 2010. The world’s vindictive press was unusually stunned into a stupor by the wonderful visitor responses.
It is strange that the minute you focus on Crime on Tourist stats, you can barely find any crime! Why is that?
It’s interesting to note how long and how much digging all over the internet it is taking to get a simple figure….Why?
Not SATSA, nor SA Tourism, SAACI, Cape Town Tourism, Gauteng Tourism, Free State Tourism, and the like, …not even Government – are stupid enough to release national crime stats on our country’s Visa application sites (and the USA and British Commonwealth do the same). It seems no one involved in tourism can openly display these ‘ crimes on tourists’ figures on their websites?
What IS going on?
Are we focusing as a country on creating our own negative PR campaigns levelled against ourselves?
Do we actually want to destroy all possibility of attracting more incoming US Dollar and Euro paying international tourists?
What is this group agreement all about?
No one is denying that we can improve as a country and that our crime figures are out of proportion. That is a well-versed song sung by the press daily.
But, does daily crime such as gang rapes and child molestation, family squabbles and drug war gang shootouts in Soweto, Tokoza, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and the like (not forgetting the high walled suburban suburbs of Sandton and Pretoria) really represent the “crime” potential tourists need to know about?
If we are rated as one of the world’s most dangerous countries to live in and this is the message that every tourism hush puppy department out there is so gleefully publishing, then we stand no chance of really pulling the high end / big spend tourists to enjoy our actually low crime tourism spots throughout southern Africa!
Is it not about high time we got real about our international image as a crime-burdened society and get the facts out there and compare South Africa to the likes of many South American countries, the Middle East, North Africa and various other tourism centres around the world. Muggings on tourists in London, Sydney, New York, Los Angeles or Chicago may actually be more than in Johannesburg?
CALL TO ACTION
And while they are at it can they settle on what South Africa’s ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ is compared to the rest of Africa – once and for all?
In 1995 we already worked out that our USP was obviously that we were the only country in Africa with a first-world infrastructure (tar roads, highways, high rise cities, great hospitals, a willing police force, a respectful legal system, rail network, etc) yet still with access to third-world authentic tribal / rural / and squatter camp communities neighbouring bustling cities and incredible wildlife reserves!
What today makes us truly Unique compared to the rest of Africa? Our National Crime Stats? Definitely not. I’m sure readers will agree. Our record of hosting visitors to southern Africa safely and securely must be exemplary, surely?
Let’s get the truth published – the Real Crime Stats on Visitors and the USP of what we offer as a region so we can all (every single department and every single tourism role player) put this coordinated message up on our thousands of websites to clear the miscommunication out there.
As the premier Big-5 safari destination in Africa (yes, we still have rhino), I would also like to ask the next question:
What are the chances of being seriously impacted by violent crime whilst vacationing through our National Wildlife Parks, beaches, wine farms and World Heritage Sites?
Let’s include our neighbours such as Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho – after all, these counties are still less than a quarter of the size of the USA.
Let’s set the record straight now – we are a long-haul destination (expensive) set at the bottom of the earth, representing a serious challenge to would-be travellers to come to our shores. Our Rand is currently at a low exchange value (great for tourists). Let’s give them at least a clear picture of the actual risks of travelling in southern Africa compared to other parts of the world.
Then let’s tell them about our combined wonders.
Peter Hayward – Founder and Chief Expeditions Officer, Hayward’s Grand Safari Events & Expeditions
Editors’ comment: Thank you, Peter, for raising this important issue on the Discussion Forum. We have researched and responded to your comments – see Tourism Security: A Comparison on Safety Tips and BAD NEWS Travels Fast.
Below are further threads to this discussion:
Posted on 25 March – Blog post comment:
Thanks for the response Des. Indeed there are good initiatives about. What I want to know are what are the stats? – specifically Crime on Tourists Stats – per annum for the last 5 years, 2 years, or 1 year.
The initiatives still don’t give the facts – without facts the marketplace cannot objectively decide whether their lives are at risk or not when visiting southern Africa.
Editors’ comment: Read this article: Crime in South Africa? What Crime?
Posted on 25 March – Blog post comment:
Therein lies the catch Peter. The tourism related crime stats reported to TSI to date are so few that one cannot make any meaningful comparisons to the national crime stats.
It’s going to take a concerted effort by the South African travel trade to report such crimes directly to TSI, which over time will give us the answers we all seek.
Of course Government has a role to play but it’s up to us, as the private sector in tourism, to lobby Government as a collective by using the TSI as a vehicle for change in policy.
One such policy change would be to get local police stations to monitor and report on tourism related crime incidents. SABRIC and the SAICB managed to get their business sectors reported on independently but look at the resources these initiatives have in place.
There’s no short-term solution but if the travel trade had bought into TSI back in 2007, when the initiative was launched by SATSA, we would by now have had sufficient data to counter the threat to our tourism arrival stats.
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