The governments of UK, USA and Australia recently warned their citizens against visiting South Africa owing to a high threat of terror attacks especially at shopping malls. The governments stated that attackers are targeting locations frequented by foreigners in Cape Town and Johannesburg. South African tourism authorities however insist that the country is safe for all visitors.
According to British authorities, there is increased threat partly because of the Holy month of Ramadhan. The decision to issue this travel advisory was prompted by a message asking ISIS members all over the world to carry out attacks during Ramadan.
The statement issued on June 4th warned that Johannesburg and Cape Town were targets because of the great numbers of tourists these cities attract. In response to these travel advisories South African officials have come out to state that theirs is a safe country and there is no danger of attacks.
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa has asked the stakeholders in the tourism sector to remain alert in the wake of terror alerts by UK, USA and Australia. TBSA chief executive Ms. Mamati Ramawela is deeply concerned about the negative effects of such alerts on South African tourism sector. According to her, image is important to the industry and a dent can be very difficult to recover from.
Ms. Ramawela says that these travel advisories are the last thing South African tourism needs when it has just started recovering.
The tourism council commended the South African Police Service’s response to these alerts. The security agencies in the country can be seen in greater numbers on said locations to ensure safety of everyone who shops there. They are working closely with various shopping mall management teams and other security agencies both locally and regionally to keep South Africa safe from extremist attacks on residents and visitors alike.
Ms. Ramawela is confident that the combined efforts of different players will ensure that any arising security situation is handled appropriately.
She encourages people in the tourism industry to cooperate with security agencies as it is the only way they will be able to take appropriate measures to keep shoppers safe. This, according to the CEO can be achieved by ensuring proper communication between security teams and management. This guarantees them the latest information about safety and security available on TBSA’s Tourism Safety Initiative portal.
There is not a single country in the world that is immune to acts of terror but by sharing information, players can prevent them from happening. According to Ms. Ramawela, South Africa is a stable democracy that terrorists would love to target but by working together the country can succeed at foiling the attacks.
Ms. Ramawela says that the TBSA works hard to get security information from reliable security agencies which they then send out to their members allowing them to take appropriate measures to keep visitors safe.