SA tourism under no threat from Ebola

Media Statement
SA tourism under no threat from Ebola

Government reiterates that South Africa remains the destination of choice for tourism,
despite a report in the media which stated that the industry had become the first victim
of Ebola.
No cases of the Ebola virus have been reported in the country, and government is
confident of the systems and protocols that are in place to address any incidence of the
Minister of Communications Ms. Faith Muthambi said, “It is unfortunate that the
newspaper would choose to report that a handful of tourists cancelled their trip due to
fears, which according to the report are based on erroneous facts about the virus. This
is despite the government’s assurance that it has efficient systems in place at the
country’s ports of entry and medical facilities. The risk of Ebola being introduced into
South Africa remains low and our tourism industry remains vibrant and lucrative.”
Since the advent of democracy the arrivals in the country have grown by more than
300% to reach nearly 15 million last year, of which 9.6 million were tourists.
Tourist arrivals to South Africa in 2013 showed positive growth from all regions. South
Africa is one of the most-sought after global destinations offering a diverse variety of
unforgettable experiences, which include leisure, business and events. “South Africa is
on record having hosted some of the biggest tourism mega-events in the world and the
2014 Tourism Act actually caters for the demands of the 21
century,” said Muthambi.
As a sought-after destination, government reiterates that it has ensured that stringent
measures have been put in place. The surveillance for viral hemorrhagic fevers has
been strengthened at ports of entry. The National Health Laboratory Service and the
National Institute for Communicable Diseases have also intensified laboratory
surveillance and the port health services, including public and private health care
practitioners, who are on alert for any ill persons that have travelled to very high risk areas. There are 11 designated health facilities in the country to manage any reported
Ebola cases. South Africa has even dispatched a specialist team in response to the
virus in Sierra Leone.
“So there is no need to incite panic and speculation on the tourism industry. South
Africa is safe and is still an attractive destination for tourists,” said Muthambi.

Bongiwe Gambu – 082 714 9463
Issued by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
19 August 2014