/ 21 September 2023

R174.5 million set aside to ensure safety of tourists

Delille (1)
Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille

The tourism department has set aside R174.5 million for the training of more than 2 300 monitors nationwide during the 2023 financial year, as the country sees a 70% growth in domestic and international travel, Minister Patricia de Lille said.

Speaking at the launch of the industry’s summer campaign, dubbed Gimme Summer, at Pabala Private Reserve in the Eastern Cape, De Lille said the tourism monitors would be strategically deployed to all South African to help safeguard top tourist attractions and national parks.

De Lille acknowledged the legitimate safety concerns that have arisen because of “unfortunate incidents” involving tourists.

In August, a British visitor was killed during a taxi protest in Nyanga, Western Cape. The tourism department said the man was with two other family members when they took a wrong turn from Cape Town International Airport and got caught up in a protest. Their vehicle was reportedly approached by a number people who shot and killed the man.

In 2022, a German tourist was shot and killed near an entrance to the  Kruger National Park.

“The tourism monitor’s responsibilities include patrolling identified attractions, promoting tourism awareness, providing essential information to tourists, and reporting any criminal incidents to South African Police Services and other pertinent enforcement agencies,” De Lille said.

The tourism monitors will receive additional training from the South African Police Service and will be deployed from late October and early November, “perfectly aligning with the upcoming summer tourist season”, De Lille said.

“We want to provide unequivocal assurance to the public, domestic travellers, and those planning visits to our country in the near future that we are vigorously advancing our efforts to enhance safety for all,” she added.

De Lille said the country had welcomed 4.8 million international tourists from January to July 2023, a 70.6% surge compared with the same period in 2022. Over the same period, domestic travel increased by 23.4%, with more than 18.8 million domestic travellers taking overnight trips compared with 15.2 million last year.

“In most successful tourism destinations worldwide, the domestic market serves as the bedrock of the tourism industry. “Like with all our campaigns, we want to use the summer campaign to further foster a culture of travel among South Africans,” she said.

During the launch, local business owners exhibited their products to delegates. These included Invictus Leather owner and founder Naz Victor, who told the Mail & Guardian that the launch provided a good platform to showcase the company’s laptop bags, journals, aprons and handbags made from locally-sourced leather.

“We offer workshops via tour guides for tourists to witness the magic unfold, from the selection of the finest hides to the process of cutting, stitching and tooling,” Victor said. “People are captivated by the creativity and tradition where every tooling pattern tells a story, drawing inspiration from our cultural heritage.

“Our artisans are single moms from the community. We teach them techniques and skills, which allow them to create leather products and support their families.”