Tourism industry working together to ensure visitor safety
As the province heads into the peak tourism season, partners in the Western Cape’s tourism industry have committed to working together to ensure that tourism safety is a priority.
On Friday, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), hosted the Tourism Safety Forum. The objective of the forum is to engage on matters relating to tourist safety and security.
Representatives of the tourism industry shared new information and ideas as well progress on various awareness initiatives and campaigns aimed at amplifying safety protocols and security measures at tourist attractions and leisure areas across the Western Cape.
Central to the discussion was the call for increased collaboration to establish an efficient and sustainable safety network capable of meeting the safety needs of both domestic and international tourists visiting the Western Cape.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer said: “The tourism industry plays an important role in the economy of the province and is responsible for the creation of over 300 000 direct and indirect jobs. Safety is an important element in any tourist’s choice of holiday destination, and a successful tourism experience depends on a safe environment. Working together with all of our partners, we want to deliver a safe, memorable season for all.”
DEDAT offers 24-hour assistance to visitors who may be in distress during their stay in the Western Cape, through the Tourism Safety Support Programme (TSSP). The programme also runs an extensive “Travel Tips for Visitors” awareness campaign.
Deputy Director of Tourism Safety, Akanksha Malik-Nair encouraged all partners to increase engagement, communication and collaboration.
She pointed to partnership successes like the ATM fraud prevention programme, operated by DEDAT and the Department of Community Safety with the help of industry stakeholders, which aims to protect tourists from criminal syndicates operating at ATMs.
“The tourism industry showed us the value of working together during the water crisis, and I believe, that a similar approach on issues of tourist safety, and now also around energy security, will help us develop contingency plans, and resilience which will strengthen our tourism industry,” Minister Schäfer said.
South African National Parks (SANPARKS) Senior Section Manager, Jaclyn Smith said they were committed to tourist safety and security. With Table Mountain National Park drawing high tourist numbers, additional seasonal employees have been appointed to meet safety and security demand. In addition, fire units will be deployed at strategic points and shuttle services at high-congestion points will be made available.
Chief Executive Officer of Cape Town Tourism Enver Duminy said the industry needed to “take advantage of existing safety measures and networks… collaborate towards improving these systems rather than looking for entirely new solutions.”
Director of Law Enforcement at the City of Cape Town, Robbie Robberts assured stakeholders of the preparedness of the city to strengthen safety and security measures through a variety of multi-disciplinary preventative and emergency response initiatives. This includes the Festive Season Priority Committee which will be led by the City of Cape Town.
There are a variety of resources that visitors can contact during their stay in Cape Town and the Western Cape.
-Tourism Safety Officers are available for contact on the following numbers: Cynthia Makweya - 072 447 1504 and Neo Mocumi - 082 554 2010 (Cape Town, Overberg, Winelands, West Coast) and Ilze Jacobs - 082 972 2507 (Garden Route and Karoo). This is part of a tourism safety strategy developed by DEDAT consisting of a forum, enforcement task force, response unit, safety and security technology, communications strategy and partnerships.
-Cape Town Tourism will continue to run its “Safety Tips” campaign and provide a “Band-Aid Program” to tourists in distress as well as through their toll-free helpline at 0861322223.
-The Public Emergency Communications Centre will be on stand-by to provide awareness and trauma counselling through its 24-hour call centre available at 107 (from a landline) and 021- 480 7700 (from a cell phone).
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044