Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille says safety is one of the major issues affecting growth in the tourism sector.
De Lille said crime must be collectively addressed so that the sector can grow.
Addressing media after meeting the MECs responsible for Tourism and stakeholders in the tourism sector in Sandton on Monday, De Lille said crime affects tourism in many parts of the world.
“South Africa is no different and across the world, countries are grappling with these issues with instability and wars in some countries.”
The Minister said an enhanced visitor experience takes into consideration the improvement of local destinations through cleanliness, safety and security, access to information, as well as provision of quality services and an authentic experience.
“Tourism is not only an economic activity but an essential vehicle that promotes a mutual understanding between a tourist and host community. Tourism is recognised for its immense potential and its significant contribution to the economy.
“Safety is one of the major issues affecting the tourism sector and as partners, government and the private sector agreed tourism safety is a priority that we need to address collectively so that we can grow the sector and remove any obstacles standing in the way of that objective.
“We discussed the risks related to tourism and the strategies and actions that need to be implemented to improve tourism safety, as agreed to in the 2018 Tourism Safety Strategy,” De Lille said.
De Lille met with stakeholders, including the National Prosecuting Authority and the SA Township and Village Tourism Organisation (SATOVITO), to discuss the risks related to tourism safety and measures that need to be implemented to improve tourism safety.
Also taking part in the meeting was the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the private sector, including the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
“As government, we want to form partnerships with the private sector to address this, including deploying more safety tourism monitors, to key tourist sites and using technology to improve tourism safety,” De Lille said.
She said the meeting agreed on the establishment of the National Tourism Safety Forum (NTSF) to coordinate integrated safety response mechanisms for tourists in distress.
De Lille said the meeting agreed on the employment of the Tourism Monitors Programme (TMP).
The Minister said this is part of the broader government intervention that involves training, mentorship and deployment of unemployed youth in identified tourism attractions and sites.
According to De Lille, the key objectives of the TMP are enhancing tourism safety awareness at key tourism attractions and sites, upskilling of unemployed youth and reducing tourist vulnerabilities.
“The key performance areas of the appointed tourism monitors include, but are not limited to, patrolling within the identified attraction areas, raising tourism awareness and providing information to tourists, and reporting any crime incidents to SAPS and other relevant enforcement agencies,” De Lille said. – SAnews.gov.za