cholera zaps tourism

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The Limpopo Tourism and Parks Board yesterday said the cholera epidemic has had a negative effect on tourism in the province.

This follows reports that most prospective visitors had cancelled their bookings at the last minute for fear of contracting the disease during their stay in the province.

The board's research findings indicate that between three and 10 accommodation bookings a day were cancelled.

Board spokesman Mike Tauyatswala confirmed yesterday that the outbreak of cholera had impacted negatively on the tourism sector in the Vhembe district.

He said a survey was conducted in the Makhado, Musina and Thulamela municipalities, where cholera was first detected.

Tauyatswala said accommodation establishments in Musina lost business due to the cholera epidemic when some tourists withdrew their bookings.

But Tauyatswala said the outbreak should not be a deterrent for people to visit Limpopo during the festive season.

"We wish to allay the fears of all our prospective visitors and tourists regarding the cholera outbreak in some parts of the province.

"It should be clear that all our places of interest are cholera-free, particularly places around Musina, Tshipise and Mapungubwe, where the outbreak was first detected," he said.

Tauyatswala said areas around Madimbo in the eastern parts of Musina, where the disease was threatening to spiral out of control, were thoroughly checked and that the situation was normal.

"For their wellness and safety, tourists and visitors are urged to take malaria and cholera precautions provided by the Department of Health to mitigate any risks of contracting the disease," he said.

He said the outbreak should not stop people wishing to visit the province during the festive season.

"We wish all cholera patients throughout the country and in all our neighbouring countries, especially Zimbabwe, a very speedy recovery and good health," Tauyatswala said.

According to Phuti Seloba, spokesman for the provincial health and social development department, the latest statistics indicated that the department has already dealt with more than 1000 cholera cases since the start of the epidemic on November 15.