SECURITY, GOVERNANCE AND XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS IN AFRICA DISCUSSED AT INDABA 2014
By: Zinhle Mngadi
“One event that happened in Africa should not affect people’s perception of Africa,” said South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thulani Nzima, at the Indaba Global Face-Off discussion on Monday.
The Indaba Global Media Face-Off hosted by CNN’s Richard Quest, addressed major issues faced by Africa today with a panellist of experts at the 2014 South African Tourism Indaba. The event was attended by 250 local and international journalists at the Durban Nkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre hall room to engage the panellist on various issues concerning African tourism.
When asked about the issue of security in Africa and how the resent abduction of the Nigerian girls impacts on tourists’ perception on the continent, the CEO of tourism stressed that Africans are working together in addressing this issue however, one incident should not affect people’s perception on the continent as a whole.
“African countries have agreed to work together in addressing the challenge of security in some African countries and we are working on it and we will overcome together but this one incident that occurred in Nigeria of the abduction should not affect people’s perception of Africa,” said Nzima.
A question arose from a journalist in the audience about some governments that are oppressive to even their media and the possibility of that scaring away tourist, economist Mike Schussler highlighted the power of laws and their ability to change a tourist’s perception on the continent as a whole.
“Laws passed by one country can and will impact on the perception of a tourist to come to Africa or not. The anti-gay laws passed in Uganda is a classic example because we will not be seeing a flux of gay people into Uganda or any neighbouring country in the next few years,” said Schussler.
Brand Africa specialist, Thebe Ikalafeng differed on that one and said that the ‘African experience’ comes with witnessing the governance and laws of a particular African country which sparked much controversy in the hall.
“It is a part of an African experience to see and feel the governance of some African countries, you can’t take the governance and laws away from the country,” said Ikalafeng.
Head of Destination Marketing Sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Helen Egan said that xenophobic attacks happening in Southern Africa does negatively affect the tourism industry.
“Particularly, the South African government must come to a decision as to what they are going to do about these attacks because they are harming the tourism industry,” said Egan.