Drawing on the World Economic Forum’s “Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index” published last week, the Democratic Alliance’s spokesman on environmental affairs and tourism Gareth Morgan said on Tuesday that there is every chance that crime will retard the ability of our tourism sector to reach its full potential.
Morgan said that the index placed South Africa 60th out of 130 countries surveyed. “According to the ranking South Africa performs fairly well in some categories, including policy rules and regulations (ranked 36), environmental sustainability (35), natural resources (21) and price competitiveness (29),” he said.
“However, South Africa’s score is severely compromised by its ranking for availability of qualified labour (126) and safety and security (123).”
When the report’s safety and security category is broken up into its component parts the situation becomes even more dire. In the “reliability of police service” ranking, South Africa is in 102nd position, behind Pakistan and Kenya. In the ranking “business costs of crime and violence” South Africa is placed 125th out of 130 countries. In the category “road traffic accidents” the country is ranked 114th.
“It is clear that the violence that takes its toll on our country daily is hurting the country’s image abroad,” Morgan said.
He added that tourists often look to add on visits to neighbouring countries. If the entire region is attractive to potential visitors it is likely to increase tourist arrivals to South Africa.
He pointed out that that Zimbabwe (117th), Mozambique (123rd), Zambia (107th) and Lesotho (129th) are ranked among the worst countries in the world for tourism competitiveness.
“It is therefore important,” he said, “that South Africa works with these countries to improve their attractiveness as destinations wherever possible.”