Monday, July 23, 2007

South African Crime Could Hurt 2010 Attendance

We recently discussed the state of the police force in South Africa. The country expects upwards of 360,000 foreigners to attend the month-long 2010 World Cup.

Police have said that there will be about 20% more police officers in uniform for the World Cup. Unfortunately, that's not enough as it's anticipated that fear of crime may be keeping more than 22 million tourists from visiting South Africa. The high levels of crime could also deter foreign investment in Africa's biggest economy and derail its chances of hosting a successful World Cup.

Although considered one of the most desirable destinations for tourists because of its natural beauty and luxury resorts, South Africa has battled to reassure visitors they will be safe from criminals in its cities, at the seaside and in game parks, especially during the World Cup.

The country has one of the world's worst murder rates, and its incidence of rapes, carjackings and assaults also are extremely high, with some of the most violent types of crime rising last year despite efforts to beef up police forces.

In a speech in Cape Town, Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said 2005 research by SA Tourism, which promotes South Africa internationally, showed more than 22 million people overseas were afraid to visit due to crime, SAPA news agency reported.

"Crime is, therefore, an issue we as industry have to deal with if we want to reach our target of 10 million arrivals by 2010," Van Schalkwyk was quoted as saying at the National Conference of the Southern African Association the Conference Industry.

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