Stephen Hickmore – We are so often our own worst enemies when it comes to language we use that effects South Africa’s image as a tourist destination. The Day Zero handling left Cape Tourism with massively reduced revenues. The press had a field day including the world wide mantle. “Cape Town, the first modern city to run out of water” It stopped people coming and was largely untrue.

The latest Crime Stats will have a similar effect. Renewed travel warnings from Brits, Americans and Canadians are a case in point. The release of the latest in crime stats is now being well reported overseas. The warnings that foreign governments are giving are fair and good advice. But, just wait for the tabloids to get hold of this. I think we will have yet another negative effect on tourism to SA.

Travellers to South Africa have been warned to “exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime‚ civil unrest and drought”.

Britain‚ Canada and the United States have all issued travel warnings.

US advisory  “Violent crime‚ such as armed robbery‚ rape‚ carjacking‚ mugging‚ and ‘smash-and-grab’ attacks on vehicles‚ is common. There is a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark. “Demonstrations‚ protests‚ and strikes occur frequently. These can develop quickly without prior notification‚ often interrupting traffic‚ transportation‚ and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.”

The US government also advised travellers to take note of water restrictions in the Western Cape‚ Eastern Cape and Northern Cape as a result of the drought.

Travellers were advised to: 1. Avoid walking alone‚ especially after dark; 2. Avoid townships unless they are with someone familiar with the area; 3. Not display cash or valuables; 4. Drive with doors locked and windows closed; 5. Always carry a copy of their passports; and 6. Conserve water.

The Canadian government said on August 30 that crime was the top threat to Canadians.

Canadian advisory “Violent crimes‚ including rape and murder‚ occur frequently and have involved foreigners‚” that government said. They told Canadians to avoid city centres after dark‚ especially in: • Berea‚ Hillbrow and Yeoville in Johannesburg; • Sunnyside in Pretoria; • The beachfront and Victoria wharf in Durban; and • Cape Town‚ especially when walking from downtown hotels to the waterfront.

Britain advisory  “There is a very high level of crime including rape and murder in South Africa. The most violent crimes tend to occur in townships‚ remote and isolated areas and away from the normal tourist destinations. Most visits to South Africa are trouble-free‚ but you should take sensible precautions to protect your safety.”

Let’s get some good news out there. How difficult can that be ?

The writer used quotes from – The Sowetan

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