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DEATH OF TOURIST, RISKS FOR TOURISTS

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Sir,

It is extremely dangerous for tourists on our roads currently. Some reasons may be more obvious for you, some less. Let me explain it to you: We currently have real civil unrest here; I do not need to go into details on this. The situation is volatile; it is just a reality. Government should accept this otherwise it could cause more problems with other countries. The roads are not in a condition the tourists are used to. Our roads can look bad for us but for tourists they are terrible.

Bad

Not even in deep rural areas in Europe do they see bad things like we are used to, like big potholes, stones on the road and flooded roads. The tourists do not fully understand that we do not have a real emergency service; the hospitals are in a bad condition. They may even have an insurance that covers transport in a helicopter, but we are not ready for this. The reaction of the police is also not so compassionate. I have seen them looking first for valuable things. We have a real high crime rate in the country right now; tourists could get robbed at any time. They are not careful enough; this risk is much higher than it was in the past.

Problems

Many countries do not have embassies here as most embassies are in Pretoria. This can cause huge problems for their families. People who are willing to assist a person here have often not enough money for themselves. Even a phone call can be too expensive. They are only here for a few weeks and many are not used to driving on the left side of the road. Under stress or at a junction, they may suddenly forget to drive on the ‘left’ side. They are not so safe handling these cars. The routines are just not so deep in them. I think, with so many police controls and roadblocks, they may feel they are in a war zone. Some may be stressed with some language barriers. I understand that government wants to say everything is ‘normal’ or we are open for business, but right now we are placing others at high risk. Government should at least consider all this and not push tourism too much. We could focus more on local tourism right now.

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