Lonely Planet Writer

Visits to SA National Parks down over xenophobic attacks

The rise in xenophobic attacks within South Africa has led to substantial cancellation in bookings to the country’s national parks by intending tourists, it has been revealed.

South African National Parks have suffered a spate of cancellations following the recent xenophobic attacks in the country
South African National Parks have suffered a spate of cancellations following the recent xenophobic attacks in the country Image by Diriye Amey / CC BY 2.0

South African National Parks (SANParks) have disclosed that “a large proportion” of tourists had taken offence, believing they were not welcome as foreigners in the country.

SANParks has also raised fears that the violence of recent weeks could undo much of the hard work in attracting visitors under the creation of the Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs).

The authority explained that these had been managed as part of cross-border relationships across a wide variety of areas including tourism‚ cultural heritage‚ conservation and scientific functions.

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said this project wasn’t simply about conservation, but was a way to build bridges within African society itself.

It had broken down barriers from the country’s colonial history, the South African Times reported.

The CEO said the current wave of violence would only go to severely undermine the work already done in building up trust between people, adding that the perpetrators should reflect on the negative impact such attacks had on the country’s standing both internally and internationally.