Expressing Concerns that the recent happenings are taking away the country’s shine and economical value as well as its culture and tainting its international recognition, the country couldn’t be more troubled, it has been revealed.
South Africa has become a centre of crimes of passion with the trial of Oscar Pistorius and the soon-to-start trial of Shrien Dewani ensuring the country would stay the focus of international attention, says statistician-general Pali Lehohla.
Mr Lehohla made this observation on Tuesday at a media briefing on tourist arrivals and departures for the peak December period.
He said the two trials had placed the country as the focus of international attention. “South Africa has become the centre for crimes of passion.”
But Mr Lehohla said his remarks were a general observation and he could not say if the interest would have an effect on South Africa’s tourism industry as the 2010 World Cup did.
The trial of Paralympian Pistorius for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp has drawn international attention as has that of British national Mr Dewani, accused of involvement in the death of his bride Anni Dewani. Both have been of particular interest in the UK, a prime tourist market for South Africa.
Statistics South Africa says 937,792 tourists visited South Africa in December last year, making it the highest recorded number of tourists in South Africa in a month.
This was an increase of 7.6% from the 871,774 tourists recorded in December 2012. Month-to-month comparison indicates that tourists increased by 12.3% from November 2013 to December 2013.
The statistics are derived from data routinely collected by immigration officers at all road, air and sea entry and exit points.
The distribution of tourists by region of residence showed that more than two-thirds of all tourists came from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region, followed by those from the overseas region at 28% and about 2% from other countries in Africa.
The number of tourists from other African countries increased at a much higher rate of 11.9% between December 2012 and December 2013 compared to tourists from overseas (increased by 8.2%) and the Sadc (increased by 6.6%).
Holiday was the main purpose cited by tourists for their visits to South Africa in December 2013.
A relatively higher proportion of those from North Africa, Asia and the Middle East said they were coming for business.
Of Sadc countries, the main contributors of December 2013 tourists were from Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Mozambique, which, combined, contributed nearly two-thirds.
Overseas tourists were mainly from the UK, US and Germany. Tourists from other African countries were mainly from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda.