The US warning adviser all US citizens travelling from Ortia to exercise extreme caution when arranging ground transportation from the airport to hotels, guest houses, and residences.
Tourism Update reports that his warning comes despite fresh measures being put in place by the National Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, who announced the steps to be taken at OR Tambo, during a media briefing on July 21.
The security message say that US citizens had been robbed at gunpoint while travelling from the airport in ‘follow home’ robberies. It also says that in some instances US citizens had been injured or shot at during these robberies.
Tourism Update quotes the Director of Nhongo Safaris, Dean Cherry, who says the recent crime incidents originating at Ortia. The recent US warning has now caused alarm, so much so that clients have been contacting the offices asking what to do.
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), welcomed the latest security measures. CEO of the TBCSA, Mmatšatši Ramawela said: “As Minister Mbalula indicated, Ortia plays a significant role in our economy, more especially from a travel and tourism point of view. Therefore, it is critical for the leadership of the country to not only safeguard its security but broadly speaking its status as a regional transport and tourism hub.”
Research insights from South African Tourism’s annual brand tracking studies indicate that the main reason potential visitors to SA do not come to the country is due to their concern for personal safety.
According to Ramawela people should remember “that this is not only an issue of ensuring tourist safety and security but also about ensuring our own safety and security as citizens. These interventions should be seen through a broader lens, as an effort to make South Africa ‘liveable’ for our own people and thus improving our prospects of being ‘visitable’.”