Following the second National Tourism Safety Forum, Minister of Tourism Patricia de Lille briefed the media on the progress of tourism safety measures being implemented by government and the private sector.
The National Tourism Safety Forum was attended by all tourism ministers, the South African Police Force, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Transport, the South African Tourism Business Council and its members, the South African Tourism Services Association, the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), the South African Township and Village Tourism Association (SATOVITO) and other tourism sector organisations.
The aim of the forum is to improve the quality of the tourist experience in South Africa.
"Millions of tourists visit South Africa every year and the vast majority of them return home without any problems and with unforgettable impressions of our beautiful country. The tourism figures for 2023 are not bad, they demonstrate that South Africa continues to be a favourable tourist destination and we look forward to welcome travellers"
Patricia de Lille South Africa's Minister of Tourism
According to the latest figures from Statistics South Africa, the number of travellers to South Africa exceeded four million in the first half of 2023. This is a significant increase from the 2.3 million tourist arrivals between January and June 2022.
Total tourist arrivals to South Africa between January and June 2023 showed a significant growth of 78.2 per cent in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.
The African region continues to bring the largest share of tourist arrivals to the country, with over three million tourist arrivals from other countries on the African continent in the first six months of 2023. This represents a 79.9 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, when South Africa received 1.7 million tourists from Africa.
"This is a testament to the marketing efforts we have made to attract tourists from this region. Apart from the African continent, South Africa is also receiving more visitors from other regions. Asia, for example, has almost doubled its numbers, with a growth of 99.5 per cent compared to 2022," said South Africa's Minister of Tourism.
She listed the main achievements of the relevant department to improve safety in tourist destinations in the country. Among them is the introduction of monitors for the sector by the Department of Tourism.
"We have reviewed the training programme for tourism monitors. The department has a budget of R174.5 million, which will enable it to train more than 2,200 Tourism Monitors across the country this financial year, who will be deployed to all provinces in the country. The main objectives are to raise awareness on tourism safety at key tourist sites and attractions and to upgrade the skills of unemployed youths. The duties of the appointed Tourism Monitors include patrolling within designated attractions and sites/areas, providing necessary information to tourists and reporting any incidents of crime to the relevant law enforcement agencies," said Patricia de Lille.
A tender has been launched to train more than 2,200 Tourism Monitors. These young people will be awarded the NQF 3 certificate and will receive additional training from the South African Police Service, as reported by the official website of the South African government.
"We are also conducting tourism awareness campaigns in communities across the country. At the end of this week, special teams will be in the Eastern Cape Province. Local people need to understand the value of the industry and must be engaged to help increase the tangible benefits of tourism in their neighbourhoods," summarised South Africa's Minister of Tourism.Photo: istockphoto.com