The Southern African Tourism Association will meet with police to discuss ways to increase protection after 36 Dutch tourists were robbed shortly after touching down at OR Tambo International Airport.
Eyewitness news reports the bus, carrying the group to their hotel on Sunday night, was stopped by a man wearing police uniform along with five plainclothes accomplices travelling in a South African Police Services car.
The men then tied up the driver and tourist conductor and ransacked the group’s luggage and assaulted some of them.
The tourism association’s David Frost said: “The issue of crime and a security thing is an ongoing issue in our country. But clearly, when tourists are targeted it has a major economic impact because it has the potential of those who were thinking of coming here, not coming anymore.”
Meanwhile Tourism Update reports the group was made up of 36 tourists of which all were over 70 years old.
The Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula condemned the robbery and viewed it as an “attack on the tourism industry and the economy”.
“Tourism is part of our economic drivers and provider of jobs for the youth. We must work hard to protect this industry. Part of this is ensuring that our tourists not only feel safe but are safe in our country,” said Mbalula.
The robbery was reported in the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf quoting passengers describing the attack as “hell”. One passengers reportedly told the newspaper, “We are safe now. But we are in shock and want to go back (to the Netherlands). We just landed for a 22-day trip, but the fun has gone.”
On Sunday evening, the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) was alerted by the tour operator, Fairfield Tours, and carried out the necessary steps of contacting insurance brokers for the tourism industry, SATIB to dispatch emergency assistance and also SAT to put a reaction team in place.
Juliane Loubser from Fairfield Tours, said that within 10 minutes of calling, Satsa CEO, David Frost, was able to co-ordinate a range of support networks, resulting in the process running very smoothly.
“The only positive thing about the situation was to see how well the core industry stakeholders work together in times of crisis,” said Loubser.
South African Tourism declined to comment, referring all communication to the police.