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FFollowing the unfortunate incident in which a group of 36 Dutch passengers were robbed on their way to the hotel between Johannesburg and Pretoria on Sunday night, South African Tourism would like to echo the sentiments raised by Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, and Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa after they visited the group to offer their support prior to their departure back to the Netherlands last night.
At a media briefing held jointly with Minister Xasa, Minister Mbalula was unambiguous about the seriousness with which the incident is treated by government. "This is an act of criminality that we take it seriously and the actions we will take must serve as clear sign that criminality will never be tolerated in our country," he said.
South African Tourism's Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona: "We are deeply saddened by this incident and sincerely apologise to these tourists and the local tour operator who had to go through this ordeal. It is important for all travellers to feel safe, secure and relaxed when they arrive, travel within and depart from South Africa - that is the promise we make to them and that's the promise we must keep, collectively as a nation. It is incidents like these that set us back and erode the investments made in positioning South Africa as a desirable tourism destination globally. We will have to work tirelessly hard and smartly to regain the lost confidence."
The passengers, the tour guide and the driver were robbed of their passports and other valuables. All passengers received full support and were given assistance with all arrangements for them to return to the Netherlands. The police investigation is ongoing and all efforts are being made to resolve this crime. The South African Police Service together with ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) have been working hard to combat criminal activities in and around OR Tambo International Airport, and continue to do so.
"We especially want to acknowledge and thank the various players of the tourism industry who immediately and selflessly did what was required to assist the tourists and protect the brand image of South Africa. Tourism relies on all South Africans to pull together to ensure all visitors and travellers enjoy themselves. Despite the unfortunate nature of this incident, we will not be deterred from continuing to put all efforts in making sure that our country remains a must visit tourism destination. Tourism is an important contributor to our economy and with our collective efforts we will make sure that it continues to flourish," concludes Ntshona. END