Drones, an app, safety monitors and private security: The Department of Tourism's new plan to keep visitors safe

"Cape Town and the Kruger National Park are the two go-to destinations for tourists to South Africa," says Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane at the launch of the National Tourism Safety Awareness Campaign at Table Mountain in Cape Town today, 8 August 2019.

(WATCH video above for full interview with the Minister of Tourism.) 

Can you imagine Cape Town without the mountain? Can you imagine not being able to walk it? Jog along its foothills or stroll it while breathing in the seasonal vegetation?

Nature is about freedom. But after a string of recent incidents within the Table Mountain National Park, the question is: How can we ensure the safety of visitors (both local and international) without creating an environment reminiscent of an airport, where you feel you have to be scanned and monitored at every entrance?

READ: SA Hiking Safety Alert: Tourists must avoid hiking alone after fatal attack in Table Mountain National Park 

How will the campaign keep visitors safe?

The campaign will focus on initiatives to improve the visitor experience and increase tourism safety. 

South Africa wants to be 'open for business' - and to grow tourism in order to reach the target of 21 million international arrivals by 2030, as set out by President Ramaphosa in his 2019 State of the Nation address, says Minister Kubayi-Ngubane. 

The Western Cape currently employees around 300 000 people within the tourism sector. This sector is outperforming others, however, these jobs need to be protected. It needs to grow in order to boost our suffering economy and tarnished reputation as a tourism and trade destination. 

All stakeholders need to work together to address issues of crime - from government to the private sector as well as civil society. Partnerships are everything, says the Minister, as one unit cannot achieve success without the help of others. It's a collective challenge.

“We are working with the South African Police Services to fine tune our safety strategy and programmes in a bid to curb and address the safety of visitors at all our tourist attractions. We are looking at utilising technologies such as cameras and drones, in addition to the deployment of safety monitors at key tourism attractions,” said Minister Kubayi-Ngubane. 

Prevention is key.

Tourism safety monitors will be deployed at all major attractions and so-called hot spots. This will not only make areas more secure, but in turn it will create jobs, teach young people skills to be used in the tourism and hospitality industry in an effort to, ultimately, alleviate poverty.

Often the biggest cause of a spike in crime statistics.  

drones, security, safety, Cape Town

(Minister  Kubayi-Ngubane with SANParks rangers and the newly appointed tourism safety monitors. PHOTO: Marisa Crous)

WATCH: See the high-flying experts replacing Table Mountain Cableway's ropes 

A safety app is also in its pilot phase. Hoping to be launched in December for holiday peak season, the Minister says an emergency app is on its way. Tourists to SA and local travellers can download this app, which will guide them with regards to safety and security in various areas.

The campaign will be employing the safety and security model used by the Kruger, utilising technologies like trackers, drones, cameras, etc. to monitor tourist areas. Private security will also become involved in terms of consulting on the enhancement of current safety strategies, adds Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.

The Minister also added that her door is always open. Open to questions, suggestions and help from the public. We all need to stand together to make South Africa safe for everyone. 

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