Terrorism hits home for SA travellers

2016-08-23 10:07 - Ra-ees Moerat
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Cape Town – Despite the fact that South Africans are incredibly resilient travellers, statistics from Flight Centre Travel shows that travel from SA to Belgium, France, Tunisia and Turkey declined in the first six months of the year, which is believed to be a direct result from terror attacks in these countries.

Travel to Belgium

Ticket sales by the booking agent, which recorded over R5-billion in ticket sales in 2015, show that travel to Belgium, which was the destination target for three co-ordinated terror attacks in March where 32 people were killed, declined by 16% between January and July this year when compared to same period as last year.

Travel to France

For the first six months of this year, travel to France declined by 29% when compared to same period as last year. France has been hit by a number of terror attacks, with the latest attack, not too long ago on 14 July where 84 people were massacred in Nice on Bastille Day. 

In Paris, on 15 November last year, 130 people were massacred by gunmen and suicide bombers hit a concert hall, a stadium, restaurants and bars, almost at the same the same time. This resulted in a 26% reduction in travel to Paris. 

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Travel to Tunisia

A mass killing occurred in June this year, resulting in the death of 38 people.  Travel to Tunisia has decreased by 28% during the first half of this year. 

Travel to Turkey

Turkey has been consuming space in the media for all the wrong reasons. It seems to be the primary target for terror attacks at the moment, which resulted in the country being hit the hardest by terror attacks. This resulted in a 50% decrease in South Africans travelling to Turkey.

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Flight Centre’s Air Leader, Karin Smit says that,"South Africans are incredibly resilient travellers, but they are showing signs of being deterred by the terror attacks we have witnessed in Europe and North Africa over the last year,"

Statistics of travels to Thailand are expected to decrease following explosions in the tourist hotspot, Hua Hin, during this month. 

SEE: Thailand blasts: Travellers warned to be on high alert

“The attacks appear to unfortunately be reinforcing negative perceptions among South Africans. The weak rand and South Africa’s poorly-performing economy are not helping, but the cherry on top for many travellers appears to be the terror attacks, especially those which have targeted tourists, such as the attacks on Istanbul Airport in Turkey, Brussels Airport in Belgium and the assault on Sousse beach in Tunisia.  

“South Africans are travelling to these countries in fewer numbers. We will have to wait to see the long-term impact of these attacks on travel by South Africans,” she says.

So where are South Africans travelling to instead? 

According to Flight Centre, "Sri Lanka is experiencing considerable growth, other Asian destinations such as Bali and Vietnam are also recording increases, as is Zanzibar, while there is always interest in Thailand and Mauritius.

"Local tourism is recording favourable growth with many South Africans choosing to stay closer to home."

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