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Topnews, Südafrika

31. Juli 2019

THE SAFETY OF ALL TOURISTS IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE TO SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM

The protection of all tourists, prevention of organised crime and the promotion of sustainable tourism development is immensely important to South African Tourism.

We therefore welcome reports of the arrests of the group of five men believed to have been involved with the robbery at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel recently. We also welcome the news of the arrest of a man suspected of robbing and killing a Ukrainian tourist over the weekend. 

We are aware of the challenges that South Africa faces in relation to crime, safety and security. We concede that the impact of crime and violence in any country has adverse effects on the tourism industry. One incident on any tourist or any South African citizen is one incident too many. Such incidents also perpetuate negative sentiments towards South Africa as a tourism destination.

Perceptions about safety, security and crime in South Africa present a serious challenge when it comes to promoting our country in order to attract tourism, trade and investment. We are however encouraged by our government’s full committed to removing any barriers that hinder the growth of our sector. 

The South African government has promised to marshal all the means at its disposal to show that South Africa is determined to ensure that tourists who travel our country are safe. To this end, government is in the process of finalising the Tourism Safety Strategy that is aimed at ensuring that South Africa is able to deal with this issue.

This process includes the National Department of Tourism and the South African Police Services entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The purpose of the MoU is for the National Department of Tourism and the South African Police Services to collaborate on the following:

  • Identification and analysis of key hotspots,
  • Establishment of a database of crime against tourists,
  • Enhancement of tourism environment through visible policing and the implementation of the Tourism Monitors programme, and
  • Establishment of the Tourism Safety 24-hour Hotline.

The purpose of the strategy is to foster public-private sector partnership in addressing issues of tourism safety in a more coordinated manner in order to provide an enhanced visitor experience and in the long term to change perceptions of South Africa as an unsafe destination.

The strategy will have a clear communication plan which covers institutional arrangements, roles clarification and covers three broad thematic areas:

Proactive Measures: This area focuses on addressing issues that can minimise the potential of incidences that impact on tourist safety. It’s about putting in place mechanisms to ensure that tourists (both domestic and international) feel safe. The Tourism Monitors programme forms part of the proactive measures being put in place.

Responsive Measures: This area will focus on measures or processes that will be followed once an incident has occurred. It is related to “On the scene” mechanism that will ensure quick and effective turnaround to attend to tourists in distress.

After Care Programme: This area will focus on measures to assist tourists once an incident has happened

Cape Town, affectionately known as the "Mother City,” is an iconic multiple-award winning city that boasts layers of history that spans from the colonial period to the emergence of a new democratic South Africa in 1994. Revered for one of the newest Seven Wonders of the World, Table Mountain, as well as a remarkable and breath-taking combination of a vibrant sea and beautiful city landscapes, Cape Town attracts millions of tourists from across the globe every year.

For the 18th year running, Cape Town was once again recently named a winner in the Travel and Leisure World's Best Awards for 2019, taking the position of Top City in Africa and the Middle East. Each year Travel and Leisure, a leading American travel magazine and website, showcases the best islands, cities, hotels, cruise lines, airports and tour operators in their World's Best Awards, as voted for by their readers.

Renowned for its friendly people, plenty of unexplored and unique tourism experiences, South Africa is truly a destination that not many other countries can match.  We would like to reassure all travellers to Cape Town and to the rest of South Africa that our country remains the ideal tourism destination and that measures exist to ensure their safety.

In 1994 close to 3.6 million visitors came to South Africa. Last year (2018), South Africa welcomed 10.5 million tourists and we are confident that we can still significantly grow our tourism arrivals from across the world. The safety of all tourists is of paramount importance to us.

Sthembiso Dlamini

Acting Chief Executive Officer: South African Tourism

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