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Drones, cameras to boost safety patrols on Table Mountain

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Minister of tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
Minister of tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

In light of the recent spate of violent attacks on tourists on Table Mountain, the Department of Tourism (DOT) plans to deploy drones and install cameras to ensure the safety of those visiting the tourist site.

These drones, according to minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, are similar to those used in anti-rhino poaching efforts at South African National Parks (SANParks) sites.

Speaking at the National Tourism Safety Awareness Campaign in Cape Town last week, Kubayi-Ngubane explained the DOT’s safety measures include the addition of 69 new safety recruits.

Nineteen more safety recruits are still in training and will be deployed in the near future, she added.

They will monitor activities on the mountain and report promptly to the police if there is anything suspicious, she said. “I am excited because I’m able to say to our tourists we are doing something about their concerns…

“We are rolling out our safety campaign to ensure that when tourists come here, they enjoy this beautiful country and go back to their countries and tell many other people to visit South Africa.”

According to the DOT, the safety awareness campaign is in partnership with SANParks, the Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry, SA Police Service and the business sector.

Democratic Alliance MP and shadow minister of finance and economic opportunities David Maynier has welcomed the tourism minister’s announcement.

“Minister Kubayi-Ngubane committed to ensure tourism monitors would be brought to full strength, that additional cameras would be installed and drones utilised to enhance tourism safety on Table Mountain National Park.

“We hope that the additional measures will strengthen tourism safety and contribute to building a strong and vibrant tourism sector which already provides approximately 300 000 direct and indirect jobs in the Western Cape.”

Also in the works is the tourism department’s mobile app, with the aim to help visitors safely navigate their way around the country upon arrival.

“In December, we will pilot a safety app for tourists that will also allow us to have their contact details if they find themselves in distress,” noted Kubayi-Ngubane.

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