Tourism dept ‘pulls out all the stops’ to keep tourists safe

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 21 Dec 2023
The Department of Tourism prioritises tourists’ safety this holiday season.
The Department of Tourism prioritises tourists’ safety this holiday season.

With the festive season in full swing, the Department of Tourism is banking on some technology-driven interventions to ensure the safety of tourists during this holiday season.

This includes the Secura Traveller app, launched in partnership with the private sector in August, according to tourism minister Patricia de Lille.

De Lille was speaking on Newzroom Afrika yesterday, detailing measures the department is implementing as part of tourism safety.

As part of these measures, national government has also availed a budget of R174.2 million for the deployment of 2 300 tourism monitors across all nine provinces, South African National Parks (SANParks), as well as key tourist attraction sites.

De Lille said the tourism monitors have already been deployed, noting that the programme was launched two weeks ago in Mpumalanga near the Kruger National Park.

According to the minister, her department is working together with provinces and cities to make sure the tourism monitors add value to the tasks of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and local Metro police in the cities.

“We deeply regret any attack on any of our visitors, and we are doing everything in our power at the three spheres of government to work together to ensure the safety of our tourists so that they can come back to our country,” she commented.

“Tourists can download the app when they arrive in our country, both domestic and international. That same app has been provided to the tourism monitors.

“From the private sector, we have established an operations centre in Sandton whereby the monitoring will take place country-wide and make sure that there is almost immediate response when there is a need and somebody has pressed the help button on the Secura app.

“We do hope this partnership with the private sector; we will be able – with the police – to drive safety for our local and international travellers.”

De Lille revealed that between January and October, South Africa had 6.8 million visitors. In November, the country welcomed 1 million visitors, bringing that figure to 7.8 million in the 11 months of the year.

“South Africa is a very attractive destination and the benefit of tourism to our economy, we’ve seen over R6 billion spend by tourists alone in this current financial year. We are pulling out all stops during the festive season to be ready and able to respond to any stumbling blocks for all visitors, including domestic visitors and travellers.”

The Secura Traveller app was launched following commitment by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa to introduce the app aimed at enhancing visitors’ experience.

It integrates a range of services, including emergency medical responses, breakdowns and crime-related incident assistance.

Furthermore, the app is linked to over 300 private security companies, including the SAPS. It also has over 200 medical institutions that will also respond to provide medical help.

In addition to the Secura app, a hotline number has also been set up that can further assist to speed up response times. The hotline number is +27 (0) 83 318 2475.