Tony Romer-Lee’s open letter to the tourism industry

July 18th, 2011 by Andrew Moth | Categories: government, hotels, industry, restaurants, tourism

Here we are in the middle of winter in Cape Town, currently ranked as Tripadvisor’s top destination of 2011, the sun is shining and it is 23 degrees C. A small group from the USA staying with us have just been waxing lyrical about how amazing their trip has been – they have been hiking on Table Mountain, cycling round Cape Point, enjoyed a wine tasting, feasted on Cape Malay dinner and listened spellbound to a talk from a former prisoner on Robben Island – all in 48 hours… Today they head off on Safari to a lodge that frequently wins “The World’s Best…”. Yes, THE WORLD’S BEST!!! There is no doubt that their trip to SA will be life-changing.

The picture I am painting here would appear to be that all is well in this beautiful, magical part of the World that is South Africa; that we have plenty of visitors from far and wide enjoying the nature, diversity, culture and gastronomy in beautiful winter weather. In the past decade, SA has produced the winner of leading polls around the world countless times. I do not recall a single winner from Australia…

There is no doubt that South Africa provides a vast array of experiences that are difficult to match anywhere in the World. Compared to a destination such as Australia, SA wins hands down in every facet of tourism: quality, service, value, diversity, history, culture, natural adventure, food and wine…

So why is it that this year Australia expects to attract 6 million ‘overseas leisure visitors’ and South Africa only 1 million? Why is it that occupancies across the board are the worst they have ever been? That thousands of waiters, room attendants, middle managers and hospitality graduates are unable to find work and losing their jobs? Why is it that owners are closing their businesses and banks are calling in their debts? Why is it that the speculators like Protea hotels are announcing that they are looking to buy ‘hotels in distress’?

Depending on who you ask, you will get a different answer: The Minister of Tourism will tell you that actually things are improving and that 10 million visitors come to SA annually; he fails to distinguish between a migrant labourer from Swaziland, a shopper from Mozambique, a displaced Zimbabwean looking for work and a family from the USA on a three week luxury holiday; many in the press will tell you that SA is too expensive, that everyone was too greedy with the 2010 World Cup; tour operators will lament about the state of their economies

Without doubt every single hotelier or restaurateur will tell you that they have never seen it so bad. They will also tell you that the outlook for the next couple of years also looks bleak. Yes it was tough in 1985, when SA was probably the least desirable tourist destination on the planet, but even then the outlook was better and things improved very quickly. They will tell you that there is no leadership and cohesiveness in how SA markets itself both domestically and more importantly abroad.

Whether it is a corrupt and bankrupt municipality in Plettenberg Bay or a national tourism board which currently has no leader (and incidentally has changed leaders three times in as many years) the root of this problem is that there is too much political interference in this industry. Honesty and transparency result in political suicide and therefore our glorious leaders, being fed with delusional statistics, think that actually everything is fine and we shouldn’t be complaining.

Clearly tourism is not seen as important: the fact that it reaches more parts of the country (both urban and rural) than any other industry, that along with financial services and mining is in the top 3 in terms of providing jobs, that it provides the greatest opportunity to achieve the economic growth SA needs to address poverty begs the question: why? Cynics may say that there are not enough ‘quick buck’ opportunities for our politicians to line their pockets… sceptics might say that it should just be left to supply and demand…

However, the industry is starting to speak out. Recently most of the key players gathered in Johannesburg, admitted that everyone is in trouble, discarded what business can do little about and resolved to do three things through the Tourism Business Council of SA, which is headed by the charming, straight talking Mmatsatsi Marobe. firstly, to get our stats right and to express ‘overseas leisure visitors’ separately to other visitors, secondly to focus international marketing in the right parts of the World (in 2010 SA Tourism undertook to spend the same amount of money in Angola as in Italy) and thirdly to lobby for the appointment of a leading business figure as CEO of SA Tourism.

What is needed now is for the TBCSA to be given the space and autonomy, reporting regularly to the minister of tourism and to the industry, to move ahead and unite the national tourism effort. Without a single, focused driving force this industry will continue to flounder and underperform and more businesses will close, more people will be out of work. Surely the government and more importantly the people of SA do not want this…

Both my owner and I have been in this industry for over 20 years. Bring on the next 20, please…!


  • chris weir

    Well put Tony!!!
    It is shocking what those responsible for marketing this beautiful country do!

  • Anton

    Tony is a mentor to one, mentor to many.

    One can always look up to him with sheer admiration and respect.

    Well said.


  • David

    Great article Tony, with some interesting points and dynamics. One of the incredible benefits social media has given us is that everyone has a voice, and in doing so, we are able to influencing public and government opinion like never before. We had to be fools if we believed that their wouldn’t be a massive over supply of beds post the World Cup, but while I understand the criticism being leveled at SA Tourism and government at present, it doesn’t offer a sustainable solution.

    We were all waiving our flags when government delivered us the World Cup, and why many tried to be greedy and line their pockets, in many instances from a Tourism perspective I’m grateful we were given the opportunity, because who was to know the World economy would go belly up, and thus we have benefited greatly from infrastructural investment that might never have happened otherwise.

    Social media has in recent months proved to have the power to over throw governments, but one questions if this even delivers real change. With enough energy and momentum we could probably get rid of, or dictate to Government on the operation of SA Tourism, but assigning blame or holding government accountable to the predicament our industry finds our self in at present isn’t entirely fair. While I don’t believe anyone disputes the politics involved, as business people do we really believe our solution to the problem lies at governments door ?

    Unable to address the very basic problems of society in South Africa, to expect Government to come to the rescue of our entire industry is unrealistic. Much like poaching – where the only sustainable solution is to end the demand, the tourism industry needs to create the demand, and while I too believe that SA Tourism has a far more active role to play, they are not going to succeed without the full backing of our industry, and our industry coming together with structured plans, to increase demand for our product offering.

    What South Africa (and Southern Africa) has, is a product that appeals to every nation on earth. We are also blessed with some incredibly powerful players and leaders in our industry. When you consider the skill set and experience that our industry has locally, from yourself and Liz all the way through to the likes of Sol Kerzner, Luke Bales, Dave Varty, Heather Gutierrez, David Coutts-Trotter, Colin Bell … The list is endless – all of whom have been in the industry for decades, I ask myself – do we really need government to sort out Tourism demand for South Africa ? – on the contrary I believe Government needs us to do it on their behalf, and I believe if there was ever a time when when Kennedy’s saying “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” when it comes to our industry – that time is now.

    The fact is, for most people in our industry, right now, things are bad, and the reality is they are not going to improve for sometime, for reasons we all have an opinion about, and could debate for the next decade, but the rate at which things do improve will largely depend on how we as an industry react. We need to let go of the colonialist view of ownership, control and self preservation and move to a cooperative approach, whereby we work together for the greater good of our industry and not our individual bottom lines. If we came together, and recognised that our greatest strength and leadership lies within, we will find the sustainability our industry so desperately needs, and in doing so, government and SA Tourism will become part of our solution, rather than “ the problem”.

    Let’s not forget, every industry has its ups and downs, but its not about how prosperous we when times are good, but how well we work together in times like these, that our industry emerges stronger and more sustainable, delivering the job prospects government so desperately needs us to do to ensure a stable and prosperous country as a whole.

    • Tony Romer-Lee

      Thanks for reading and for replying with such insight – indeed we need to work together and yes largely it is up to us to turn things around. I am confident we will come out of this period stronger, more flexible and much wiser. I just hope that on a national level that business has more of a say in directing the marketing spend and agree with you when you say that Govt needs to allow our industry to sort our own demand…

  • Bill

    First thing is you need more flights from the USA if you want to get the Ameican traveler. I can’t even get to Capetown directly. Nevermind the price which is quite high. Secondly a campaign needs to be done to ease the fears of crime. When the WWE who has millions and millions of followers world wide talks about how every piece of luggage was broken into on the last tour, it makes people think twice.
    I have always wanted to go, but have only found one tour company that I found that seemed like they were not ripping me off.

  • Amy

    I feel that the hospitality industry focuses mainly on tourists, not locals.

    The industry makes it impossible for me, as a local, to afford this luxury.
    My wedding anniversary is in October, and I, can only but dream of spending a weekend away, in a beautiful hotel with my husband of many years.
    Who wants to always book in winter, when prices are supposedly cheaper.
    October is usually the start of the most expensive time of the year to book at any hotel. Prices just increases drastically

  • Beate

    I am a PR specialist for the tourism industry and am promoting SA hotel clients and destinations in the media in the UK, Germany and all over Europe. In terms of marketing we can’t expect much help from the SA tourist board but we don’t need them to promote our businesses in a positive way. Through proactive PR we can generate lots of positive press coverage and improve people’s perception of South Africa as a tourist destination. However I am finding that there’s a general lack of understanding in this country of what PR can do and how it works. It is exactly in these tough times that we need to promote ourselves in order to turn it around. Business owners – don’t spend on advertising but rather on PR! It’s cheaper and much more effective. Get those international journalists over to SA, show them how beautiful this country is and let them write their stories about it. I am based in Cape Town so if anyone needs any help please let me know.

  • Dave Chandler

    Well at last someone has put what most of us (Who make it their business to know) know into broad public view. Too many profit from skimming the niceties from incorrect facts and avoid using a spade to say more about the reasons why we are not being successful.

    The people movement within the country to visit all that we offer is NOT good and that is just the South African public. The Kruger National Park is not doing as well as it should be, which is where we are situated. But the facts are under the facts and the reasons are also under the carpet.

    Thank you to you Tony for telling how it really is – and I hope this might signal a campaign for a National Wake UP Call.

  • Klaus

    @ Bill, that is exactly what makes tourism in SA so difficult, people like you taking isolated cases and then portrait them as the daily happening. And how comes that statements like this mostly come from the USA?

    We are operating a lodge close to KNP and also travel ourselves. I can easily say that thousands of our guests would easily state the opposite WRT being ripped off and millions of pieces of luggage broken into. They all had a marvelous experience in SA and arrived back home alive and kicking.

  • Anita

    I could not agree more with Tony’s comment “that they will say there no leadership and cohesiveness in how SA markets itself both domestically and more importantly abroad.” Not being directly involved in Tourism, I am however involved in Exhibitions and Events and its is appalling how South Africa is showcased and portrayed at events bothlocally and internationally.

    Sometimes huge budgets produce the most unappealing offering and money is wasted – other times the budgets are pathetically inadequate to achieve the required result. The Gauteng Tourism stand at Indaba 2011 was an absolute joke and an emmabarassment. The stand was badly laid out, badly built – badly manned and badly branded, and their offering badly showcased – it was just BAD! A huge portion of the stand was taken up by the radio station Kaya FM – someone please explain. And worse still they roped all the smaller metros and municipalities – who all have wonderful offerings and reasonable budgets, to pool in with them on their diabolical monstrosity.

    Also could someone please let Durban Tourism know that luxury 64m yachts cannot sail through the surf up onto South Beach as their hideously photo shopped picture shows. If these types of things are fixed visual errors – one can only imagine the type of message being portrayed by the staffing and brand ambassadors on the stands. Food left all over – feet up – people who cannot speak properly, and are not knowledgeable – what does this portray about the service overseas tour operators are going to get here?

    And the horror stories of bad marketing go on and on.

    One can only hope that the efforts TBCSA will finally bring some cohesion and all parties can start to pull the Tourism wagon in the same direction.

  • liz

    congratulations,well done ! collective energy works . I have been in hospitality business on all levels for 30 years.Just returned yesterday from Garden Route ..all places are totaly empty , depressing moments for all involved >
    You must see what AUSTRALIANS do for their tourism . Innovations and adapting to the times we live… is the key factors . What kind of innovative products do we have in tourism ?
    there is so much more to tourism, then just a luxury clean bed and bottle of wine ?
    What I realised , the people on the TOP are not even prepared to listen, becouse they like them selves so much and their egos are to big to admit that their old fashioned strategies need CHANGE. Every chalange is a NEW beginning .

  • Kate

    Great read!

    I think what hospitality in SA needs is more energised Youth. The Wisdom of the older leaders mixed with the energy of a new generation will surely help build a new foundation for SA tourism.

    Marketing and social media courses should be incorporated into hospitality courses. Youth need to be taught how to think beyond traditional lines.

    In the long run SA won’t be seen at as an expensive destination but a quality destination! Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool and international tourists will walk away loving our people and the level of service. This will only happen if more skills development is given to youth!

    Take for instance FEDHASA youth run by a few key youth, such as Michael Oosthuizen, however he is running the division whilst holding a full time job.. It is people like him that will help maintain and grow tourism if he is given the right support!

    So many incredible young minds that need support and guidance to take the reigns and be given a voice!

  • Michele Abraham

    Thanks for getting this issue out in the open, Tony.
    As a southern African hotel operator, what is of concern as well is that we know Mozambique and certainly Victoria Falls and even Botswana are VERY reliant on spin-off business from SA tourism, especially coming from overseas. We clearly admit and have been strategising on the fact that we rely almost exclusively on tourists going into SA to do add-on breaks to our beaches and islands, as Mozambique is not yet a developed stand-alone destination.

    We, too, have realised the importance of working together with our industry partners in Mozambique in order to promote tourism to the country and we’ve also seen it in Zimbabwe with the launch a few years ago of the very successful GoToVicFalls campaign. It should not be such a struggle to illicit support from the relevant governments in order to promote tourism. Tourism is one of the more effortless ways to generate income for a country, particularly ones with so much to offer as can be found in Africa, and used to advance education, improve infrastructure, fund conservation efforts, as well as create much-needed employment.

    South Africa, as the leading “power-house” in Africa, along with its Tourism Authority, has the potential to drive tourism to its neighbours and increase interest to the continent as a destination – a win-win situation for us all.

    We are fortunate that SA (and all her neighbours) offers such a diverse experience for travellers – but we cannot just rely on the Big 5 tried and tested formula to promote the destination. As has been mentioned in the different comments, it is time to embrace the new era of Social Media and find innovative ways to get the numbers back.

  • Chris von Ulmenstein

    Well done to Tony for saying it as it is!

    Last month I wrote this Open Letter to our Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk:


  • Andrew McEwan

    Thanks Tony

    I couldnt agree with you more.
    I own and manage a sales and marketing representation company focusing on meeting with SA based tour operators and ground handlers, educating them via lap top presentations in their offices, site inspections and stay overs and stratagising with them regarding their business vs what my represented products can offer them.

    I have always been confident that we are one of the more dynamic, driven and hard working marketing and sales representation companies in the SA Inbound industry. My portfolio consists of lodges in the world famous Sabi Sands to knock out luxury sea views Bantry Bay small hotels and most are able to hold their heads way above water even in this trough that the SA tourism industry is in.

    But it is definatly getting worse day by day. Some of my products are not situated in CPT or easy to get to big 5 safari concessions. Some are in the Garden Route, KZN battlefields, Mpumalanga Panorama, and Johannesburg. These are the products that are really hurting in SA at the moment.

    When I ask why these secluded, character filled getaways are not recieving decent volumes of business if any at all from the tour operators – there response is

    1) Itineraries are getting shorter and shorter – so people only have time for Cape Town, Kruger/or Botswana and maybe Victoria Falls when visiting Southern Africa?

    2) That most of their clients are fly in and thus dont do any self drive or guided driven routes like the Panorama, Garden Route and KZN drakensberg any more.

    This is where i must compliment you on your words regarding our marketing and leadership on an international front.

    Why were the Panorama, Garden Route, and KZN better supported in years gone by?
    Why is SA fast becomming a Cape Town and Kruger only destination?
    Why are over all tourism figures not only not growing but actually decreasing year on year?

    You as the hoteliers are doing a great job, We as marketing companies are doing a great job, We have the best lodges and hotels in Africa, with the best most service orientated staff in Africa – Yet we are loosing out daily to East Africa which has not been politically stable, nor had the best service accreditation, not to mention that none of their hotels or lodges have come close to winning the awards that some of our “lodges” and “hotels” have won?

    So in my opinion it has everything to do with the LACK of leadership, and a serious lack of a National and regional marketing stratagy in our major overseas inbound markets and the emerging markets.

    Sure individual products and some of us marketing and sales companies are running around Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia – but we are promoting individual products not the country and regions within the country which means that there is a serious lack of infrastructural knowledge, logistical knowledge, regional knowledge, and it is easier to just support CPT and Kruger as they are well known and easy to get to.

    These marketing and sales trips are costly so it is not supprising that the products want maximum exposure for their specific product.

    So who then is doing the selling for SOUTH AFRICA? Who is training on infrastructure, regions, history, activities available, self drive routes?
    Who is asking the international markets what travel trends they are experiencing and what SA needs to do to be competative in the international tourism area. Who is managing the often tarnished reputation of SA from a global PR perspective?

    Until we have a solid National marketing, sales and PR team and leader in place – willing to work hard and not sit back and get fat off the annual budgets without doing the work – This will only get worse!

    SA Tourism – WHERE ARE YOU?

    Finally I just want to add that JHB has amazing potential, great hotels, culture, nightlife and activities! Yet when I am doing my best to promote my represented JHB Hotel product – I get told time and time again by the tour operators “We use the airport hotels for convenience” ??? Airport hotels were designed for the business traveler not the leisure traveler! They are convenient but are noisy, smell like avaition fuel and are not in our pretty areas of JHB!

    Why are we doing this to ourselves in business and why are we doing this to the inbound clients? Think about it. The first and last nights of our guests stays are spent in an airport hotel with no character – That is not a great way to begin or end a beautiful South African visit! The Gautrain is fantastic (12 minutes airport to Sandton) – send them to Sandton, Rosebank and the garden setting properties our there!

    Anyway thanks again Tony for this interesting read. Here’s to a dynamic, getting the job done CEO of SA Tourism and a hard working team under him/her in the near future. Lets pray that this is realised asap.

  • Rebecca Hurst

    Well done on making these important issues heard. A great read which I will now pass on to all of my students.

  • Margi Biggs

    Tony, thanks for opening this important debate.
    SAT needs to operate as a business would. Using Tourism as a political football, as it has been for far too long, will not deliver growth. Real research with proper evaluation would show the way to where resources need to be placed. The time of employing inexperienced people in key roles in SAT has to end. We need this Govt agency to look to the best business people to run our international marketing. We have the most amazing product but our PR position is very weak. This must be addressed by many Govt departments, working together and, with professional PR people. Only then will the potential travellers (Business and Leisure) trust the destination to deliver. I hope the Minister of Tourism is following this debate….

  • Site South Africa

    Dear Tony,
    On behalf of SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Executives), the leading Incentive Travel Association in the world, we would like to thank you for this letter. Even though we concentrate on a niche section of the market, the Incentive Travel Industry represents millions of Rands to Hotels and operators annually.

    In response to the Cape Argus, dated 21 July 2011, the front page article also featured this letter. What was however frustrating was the comment by Dirk Elzinga from FEDHASA: “No, I don’t think we should use the word crises. It is midwinter, which has never been a good season in the Cape.” This comment undermines the importance of this situation. The concern is not only for our short-term survival, but there is a definite lack in forward bookings and a clear strategy.

    At a recent SITE workshop in Cape Town, attended by 60 role players from the Incentive Travel industry, an invitation was sent to SAT Business Tourism Department – the concern was that they were not allowed to attend this event (and dialogue at this level) as per instruction from the Minister.

    After doing some comparisons between our major markets, South Africa is found to consistently be one of the most expensive, amongst other things the most expensive airports in the world for landing fees/taxes.

    The industry should come together and demand clear leadership and direction. The time has past to just comment between ourselves, and action and must be taken to secure the best possible return for our industry.

    Once again, thank you for your commitment in making your voice heard.

    SITE South Africa
    Adriaan Fourie

  • David Frandsen

    The severe downswing in the tourism economy particularly in terms of international tourism is due to the severe economic conditions in our core European and North American markets exacerbated by the the strong Rand exchange rate against the Euro, US Dollar and Pound. The cost of travel to South Africa from Europe has increased by 30 – 40% over the past three years purely based on the strength of the Rand without factoring in any basic operating cost increases over this period. A further difficulty is flight costs exacerbated by unrealistic airport taxes which is making the cost of getting to South Africa uncompetitive.

    There is a significant problem, particularly in Cape Town, with an over supply in 4 and 5 star hotel accommodation. This has had the effect of unleashing a price war with 5 star properties discounting to 4 star levels and this effect has further cascaded to 3 star properties who now have to compete with superior products trading in their price category.

    A further issue is the staleness of our offering to market. So many DMCs simply push a standard Cape Town, Kruger, safari and Victoria Falls product without an attempt to diversify and refresh our product offering as “this is what the market is used to”. South Africa and the region has the most amazing tourism diversity yet there is little evidence or an ability by either the national tourism authority or industry to actively market the amazing diversity the country has to offer. Perhaps this should be the point of departure in revitalising our tourism offering and the basis of collaboration between SA Tourism and the private sector.

    There is little doubt that we need to diversify our tourism source markets and the tourism sectors in which we play in order to spread the risk. The emergence of India, the Middle East and the Far East as prospective growth markets needs greater investment. The value of the incentives segment, particularly from markets such as India, is practically untapped and these markets present valuable opportunity for growth in the short to medium term. Similarly the Brazillian market is ripe for investment particularly given its proximity to South Africa and the availability of air lift between Brazil / Argentina and South Africa. It is important to diversify our tourism marketing resources into non Euro, US Dollar and Pound markets simply as a measure to offset the growing risk of over dependency on our traditional markets in an environment of economic uncertainty and decline in many of these markets.

    The importance of African markets for South Africa is also crfitical given their proximity and the existence of high yield sectors within these markets. We should not be dismissive of these markets and should rather concentrate our efforts on the most effective strategies to unlock the potential of the high yield segments within these markets.

    The importance of business tourism and the need to expand the effectiveness of destination marketing in this sector can go a long way in ameliorating particularly the difficulties experienced in terms of seasonality. South Africa should not be a one city conventions destination (Cape Town) rather we should look to expanding the capacity of the other cities across the the country to compete in this space. This has been done most successfully in Australia with the emergence of Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth competing vigouroulsy and successfully with Sydney in order to secure conventions business. Why should Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria and even East London, with a new Convention Centre, not begin to play in the same space in terms of attracting corporate meetings, incentives, exhibitions and association meetings to their cities. The need to build capacity and expertise in the business tourism sector with the capacitating of effective Convention Bureaus is critical for this to happen.

    Finally charity begins at home. South Africa is blessed in terms of its strong domestic tourism sector and is in fact the only country in Africa with a strong domestic tourism sector. The domestic tourism sector is unaffected in ternms of the vagaries of the exchange rate. Over many years the domestic market has been the mainstay of our tourism industry smoothing out the volatility of our international tourism market. This volatility caused most often by factors beyond our control. I would say that it would be highly irresponsible for any tourism business in South Africa, even at the top end, to ignore this market. In order to improve business sustainability a long term commitment to the domestic market is imperative.

    Our current condition should not deterriorate into the spectacle of bad mouthing SA Tourism, or blaming each other for our current woes. Rather we should look for a collaborative approach to understanding the market conditions and pulling together to survive the tough times now with a long term strategy to effect market and sector diversification to strengthen the resilience of our tourism industry.

  • Liesel Muller van Zyl

    Thanks Tony, its the overriding topic of our times isn’t it.
    As an Inbound Tour Operator, we’ve had to navigate our way through these times by expanding our traditional view and targeting a wider audience all the while not losing focus of who we are if not aiming to be better and better, Andrew (above) is not wrong in his findings.
    Its been a challenge, but a rewarding one. Our sales team has had to change their thinking and up their skills, our buyers have had to change our strategy and enhance our negotiation skills and our marketing team has had to brainstorm and implement quickly and often. Some established 5 star hotels have established 5 star travellers, yes they are still travelling but others are losing their grip and may consider changing or expanding their offer. One brand new 5 star hotel opened in hope of benefiting from the expected world cup boom, they bombed out but they’ve dropped to 4+ star now, dropped their rates, made contact with us the TOs and are benfiting from attracting a local conference market. It will be different for everyone, but just like the apple industry in Elgin started producing some of our best wine producers today, we all need to diversify and adapt and yes, work together.

  • Tony Romer-Lee

    Hello Amy,

    Thanks for the reply, you might be surprised at our local rates so please let me know when you want to travel, my email is

    All the best, Tony

  • Amy

    Dear Tony

    Sorry for the late reply, been very hectic.
    Thank you for your response,really much appreciated!

    I am taking note of your email address and will advise as soon as possible!!

    Kind regards

  • alexj

    The truth is that CRIME has a massive impact on the decision where to visit. And the reality is that Tourists (Correctly) perceive SA as a country where in the ordinary course of visiting they may lose their life (or at least be attacked which often results in death in SA, not just injury).

    ALL our popular places are in areas where there are high volumes of people (thus safer) OR CONTROLLED security in the form of enclosed areas such as our game farms.

    Ask any tourist to just wander off into the bush as they can in other countries and the picture changes – THEY CANNOT just go off into unchartered areas but need to stay in busy areas for safety reasons.

    There is a MASSIVE adventure market (local and foreign) that is lost to SA because of crime.

    Sort out Crime, then Incompetance (including in private Tourism) and Tourism will improve drastically.

  • Gabrielle

    Hi Tony

    Your letter makes me think how inspiring it would be if someone like you would head up SA Tourism. Can the hospitality industry heads get together and put nominations forward to government, because surely we should have a say in who should be considered for this position as it affects our industry directly?


  • Nan

    Hi Amy

    Sorry to couldn’t find somewhere for your anniversary. My rates only increase towards end November. Drop me a line if you are still looking.



  • estelle

    Estelle – Amen to all of this. If just the will power were there it all sounds possible.