- Cape tourism bodies are fearing a ripple effect after the recent killing of a German tourist in Mpumalanga.
- Cape Town Tourism has issued a warning to foreign visitors to be cautious when visiting the Mother City.
- ATM fraud as well as pickpocketing of foreign visitors remain a major concern.
The recent killing of a German tourist in Mpumalanga has left tourism bodies on edge, following a spate of kidnappings that has gripped parts of the country.
Now, Cape Town Tourism has issued a warning to foreign visitors to be cautious when visiting the Mother City.
Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy said they anticipated a bumper festive season, especially with Cape Town being frequently cited as among the world’s best holiday destinations.
“Accompanied by a high return visitor rate, we must continue to ensure that safety is a key priority and show that the city cares for its visitors,” he added.
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Various tourism industry bodies – including the police, Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), SANParks, and consular generals – have identified safety trends and discussed solutions to ensure locals and visitors remain safe.
The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic growth, James Vos, said the City remained committed to ensuring Cape Town, as a destination, was safe and ready to welcome travellers.
Vos said the City had deployed 1 000 extra law enforcement officers to the 11 worst crime hotspots in Cape Town.
“We will invest in even more law enforcement officers, equipment, and vehicles to make every Capetonian feel safer. And we will focus single-mindedly on growing the economy so that more people can get into work and out of poverty while working around-the-clock to attract more visitors with clever campaigns and travel connections,” he added.
The CCID’s manager for safety and security, Muneeb Hendricks, said it was common knowledge criminals targeted tourists in cities worldwide.
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“Cape Town, and the vibrant, economically successful CBD, is no different. We are always concerned when any visitor is targeted, not only foreign tourists, but we need to emphasise that there are not huge numbers of these kinds of incidents in the Cape Town CBD.
“Most of the crimes committed in town are petty crimes such as ATM fraud, chain snatching and pickpocketing.”
Hendricks added there had been some cases of foreign tourists being targeted in the CBD, but they were in the minority, involving incidents of chain snatching and pickpocketing.
“ATM fraud is a concern in the city centre and other parts of the city. International and South African tourists are vulnerable to ATM fraudsters who use sophisticated scams to lure unsuspecting visitors to ATMs and gain access to their funds,” he said.
But the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry added it was concerned the trend of callous criminals targeting tourists could make investors jittery and taint a tourism industry struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Its deputy president, Derryn Brigg, said the news of the German tourist being killed had stressed the chamber as the country’s tourism sector was likely to be hit hard by such occurrences.
“There is, therefore, a need to examine the issues pertaining to crime and tourism since effective crime prevention and changing negative perceptions can contribute significantly to economic growth by promoting investments and tourism,” Brigg added.
US Consulate General spokesperson Stacy Barrios said the US Department of State had no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas.
“We provide comprehensive safety and security information for every country in the world on our travel.state.gov website to help citizens assess the risks of travel.
“Each country information page contains a travel advisory, recently issued alerts, and other important details specific to that country.
“We encourage US citizens travelling overseas to enrol in the smart traveller enrolment programme so they can receive important messages about their destination[s] directly, including timely alerts and updates to travel advisories, and to enable the US Embassy to assist in an emergency.
“As a matter of course, we don’t comment regarding diplomatic conversations with our South African partners,” Barrios added.