LISTEN: Attack on tourists tantamount to ‘economic sabotage’ | The Citizen





Three German tourists are recovering after a harrowing ordeal in Mpumalanga, in which one member of their group was shot and killed in what appears to be a hijacking or robbery.

The German Embassy in South Africa has told The Citizen they are doing all they can to assist the remaining members who survived the attack while en-route to the Kruger National Park.

The group was ambushed in their vehicle by three armed suspects on Monday afternoon

Police have since began a manhunt for the perpetrators who fled the scene after the attack.

German Embassy

German Embassy spokesperson Christopher Schmidt said it is dealing with the matter.

“The embassy is assisting the victims that were affected and in similar cases that would also include help and assistance with the transfer of the body.”

Listen: Interview with Christopher Schmidt

Police

Schmidt said the embassy is working with the South African Police Services (Saps) in their investigations to bring the perpetrators to book.

“We are in close contact with the South African authorities and we are doing everything that we can to assist them and to help with the investigation.”

SA still a top tourist destination for German’s

While South African authorities condemned the attack, Schmidt said the country remains a top tourist destination for German citizens.

“South Africa has also been one of the main tourist destinations for German travellers, despite the sometimes-difficult situations concerning criminality and crime. The embassy provides security and safety advice for all tourists coming to South Africa.”

“I don’t think this will have an immediate effect,” Schmidt added.

SA Tourism

The South African tourism sector said it is devastated by the attack.

South African Tourism Acting CEO, Themba Khumalo expressed the South African people’s sympathy and extended their support to the family and friends of the victim who endured such a “devastating experience in the country.”

Khumalo’s sentiments have been echoed by the CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Tshfhiwa Tshivhengwa.

“Violence against tourists is equivalent to economic crimes such as stealing copper cables and gold, and something must be done urgently.”

“Our teams will meet with our colleagues in the security cluster to discuss ways in which plans to ensure tourist safety are fast tracked ahead of our very busy summer holiday season,” he said.

Sisulu to engage with cabinet

Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu has also expressed her condolences to the family and friends of the tourist saying she is saddened by the killing.

Sisulu said she would engage Cabinet colleagues in the Security Cluster to discuss plans to ensure the safety of tourists who visit South Africa.

“I condemn this murder and robbery in the strongest terms and call for harsh punishment of those responsible.

“Tourism is one of our economic drivers and a provider of jobs for the youth. We must work hard to protect this industry.”

“This crime will not deter us. We will continue to intensify targeted communication on our digital platforms to sell South Africa as a destination of choice, inviting the world to come and “Live Again” with us,” she concluded.

Sisulu said South Africa receives a large number of tourists from all over the globe, including Germany, and the high number of foreign tourists who continue to visit the country.

“This high number of tourists is one of the ways in which our tourism sector has been able to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“This in turn has a negative impact on the socio-economic benefits of the sector, particularly tourism’s contribution to gross domestic product, job creation and ultimately poverty alleviation,” she said.

Reward offered

Meanwhile, the Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism (KLCBT) has offered a reward of R50 000 for information that will lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of the gunmen that shot and killed the German tourist.

NOW READ: Manhunt launched after German tourist murdered en route to Kruger Park

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