In a statement released to the media yesterday, Minister Patricia de Lille shared an update on the progress made so far by the National Tourism Safety Forum (NTSF).
The NTSF is a private-public partnership, bringing together all Tourism MECs, the South African Police (SAPS), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Department of Tourism, the Department of Transport, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and its members, the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), the South African Township and Village Tourism Organisation (SATOVITO) and other tourism sector bodies. The Forum’s primary objective is to enhance the visitor experience in South Africa.
Despite South Africa’s safety concerns, the country’s tourism sector is showing a healthy rebound, de Lille noted. The first half of 2023 recorded more than 4 million tourist arrivals in the country, a 78.2% increase compared to the 2.3 million arrivals in the same period in 2022. (StatsSA)
In terms of where South Africa’s tourists are coming from:
- 3 million arrivals in the first half of 2023 were from Africa; this is a 79.9% increase compared to the 1.7 million visitors from Africa in the same period of 2022.
- The Asia region almost doubled its arrivals figures with a 99.5% growth compared to 2022.
- Europe, the largest source of visitors outside Africa, also experienced solid growth of 66.8%, when compared to the same period in 2022.
- North America, Central and South America, and the Middle East also demonstrated strong growth trends with rates of 70.6%, 74.4%, and 75.8% respectively.
De Lille noted, “These robust figures showcase South Africa’s charm and attractiveness as well as the work that we are doing in marketing South Africa as a tourist destination of choice.”
“While the latest statistics from StatsSA reveal an upward trend in tourist arrivals, issues of safety are an obstacle in converting would-be tourists to visit our country.”
However, she added, “While the latest statistics from StatsSA reveal an upward trend in tourist arrivals, issues of safety are an obstacle in converting would-be tourists to visit our country.”
To address this, the NTSF has rolled out several Tourism Safety Measures:
Part of the National Safety Strategy is the deployment of Tourism Monitors by the Department of Tourism. The Departmental budget is R174.5 million, to train over 2 200 Tourism Monitors across the country for this financial year.
The Departmental budget is R174.5 million, to train over 2 200 Tourism Monitors across the country for this financial year.
These monitors will be present at top tourist attractions and national parks around the country where they will patrol these spaces, impart safety advice and resources with tourists, and report any crime incidents to SAPS and other relevant enforcement agencies.
Unemployed youth are being recruited and equipped with an NQF 3 certification for these roles, and will receive further training from the SAPS.
The tourism monitors are expected to be deployed towards the end of October and beginning of November 2023, just ahead of the summer season.
Virtual court proceedings
The NPA has accented to new legislation to allow the use of audio and visual link to present evidence in court. This will allow tourists who have returned home to present their testimony.
The Secura app has been set up by the TBCSA and is already being used by tourists, linking them to hundreds of emergency services around the country. The app offers tourists roadside assistance, directing those who are lost, as well as affordable emergency medical responses, breakdowns and crime-related incident assistance.
TBCSA has also established a Tourism Operations Centre to guide and manage the Secura Traveller technology to support the tourism monitors.
SAPS QR codes
SAPS has developed tourist safety tips which have a QR-code that allows tourists to scan the tips and store them electronically. These safety tips have also been incorporated into the MY-SAPS APP for easy access.
Tourism Awareness Campaigns
These awareness campaigns aim to highlight the value of tourism to communities around the country, so that community members start to recognize the benefits tourists bring to the country. It is hoped that this will further drive the message that tourism safety matters and get communities behind supporting these various safety initiatives.
“The National Tourism Safety Forum will meet again later this year and we look forward to continuing our partnership with all stakeholders and the private sector to enhance tourism safety measures and working with all stakeholders to ensure a safer visitor experience,” concluded de Lille.
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