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Date published 04.09.2017

OPERATORS in South Africa are advising agents and customers that visitor safety in overcrowded European tourist destinations is not a concern but are advising clients to be considerate of local concerns.

Protests are largely against anti-social behaviour by large groups of foreigners have sparked debate about negative effects of mass tourism, reinforcing the need for sensitivity towards local residents.

Austria Connection founder and Director Inge Dobihal said, to her knowledge, anti-tourism protests were not affecting Croatia but described conditions in Dubrovnik as “problematic”. She said many people were disgruntled, mostly about massive influxes of cruise passengers.

Reports of anti-tourism and over-tourism protests have mostly been concentrated in Spain and Venice.

Ms. Dobihal said the Croatian government was thinking about measures to address the issue but nothing had been discussed in detail and whatever solutions were proposed would probably not be implemented before next year.

“Anti-tourist feelings are directed primarily against the big cruise liners spilling thousands of passengers for a few hours into the small fortified town of Dubrovnik, to the detriment of proper visitors and local population,” Ms. Dobihal explained. “there is absolutely no concern whatsoever about safety for visitors…”

Thompsons Holidays spokesperson John Ridler said Thompsons had not received any complaints but: “I am sure the municipalities of Venice collect a wad of cash for every large ship that docks in their city. This then spills over into hotels – many are notoriously expensive – restaurants, curio shops, water taxis and the equally expensive gondoliers. They might not be so happy if there are negative vibes directed at tourists. Many tourist sites become victims of their own success and it is up to them to manage their assets.”

United Europe General Manager Jacqui Carr said the company would continue to monitor the situation but maintained it was business as usual in most of the region.

The Association of Southern African Travel Agents has told members, “although the FCO (UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office) has not published travel advice yet, the general advice to tourists is to use your common sense. Be vigilant and don’t go where there might be a risk”.

• See the September issue of TIR for the full story,  available now at www.tir.co.za  – direct link here.

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