The South African government on Friday unveiled a tourism safety plan as rising crimes pose a serious threat to the tourism industry.
The plan was crafted after the tourism sector has raised great concern about safety affecting tourism.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said in a statement that the number of international arrivals in South Africa has dropped.
“Without a doubt, the challenges around safety had negatively affected our major markets.’’
According to Kubayi-Ngubane, this plan, crafted jointly with the South African Police Service (SAPS), integrates proactive both preventative and responsive measures to potential incidents.
She said the plan would ensure quick and effective operational response, which includes an aftercare program that focuses on measures to facilitate and provide victim support after an incident has occurred.
Under the plan, private security would work under the command of police, advanced technology would be used to respond to the challenges; tourism monitors would be deployed at private establishments.
The interphase of operators to interact with various provincial joint operation centres for early warning; crimes must be reported timely, and information on potential risks would be shared.
Kubayi-Ngubane said “the strategy, to guide our response to the challenges of tourism safety which impacts on the country’s tourism potential, was developed in consultation with various structures.’’
She added that a forum has been established, which includes representatives from the various stakeholders in the industry representing airlines, rail operators and accommodation etc.
“In the long term, we will remodel the Tourism Monitors Program so that they are linked with SAPS Community Policing Forums and Community Safety Patrollers as part of SAPS Community Policing Strategy.’’
The tourism sector, she said, is immense as it occupies the number two spot in the list of government priorities.
The minister said the government understands the potential of the sector to economic growth and job creation.
She said she was confident of the plan’s implementation through this festive season and over the next six months as a pilot program.
“We want to emphasise the importance of collaborative effort in dealing decisively with the safety of our visitors and to ensure that South Africa remains a destination of choice.
“We are committed to bringing in more partners into the fight against crime in general and tourism safety in particular.’’
South Africa has recorded a series of incidents of violence against overseas visitors in recent months.
According to the latest figures released by Statistics South Africa, total tourist arrivals fell 2.1 percent from January 2019 to September 2019, compared with the same period in 2018.