Dear Cape Town
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has requested that the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, and her colleagues in Cabinet establish an inter-ministerial coordinating committee to address tourism safety concerns in light of reports that a number of potential international visitors have cancelled their trips to South Africa following recent attacks on tourists.
These cancellations do not bode well for the country’s already fragile economy as tourism is an essential contributor to South Africa’s economy, especially in the Western Cape.
Comments by Minister Kubayi-Ngubane that tourists to South Africa can be assured that it is a safe holiday destination leaves them with little comfort as they need assurance that the country can address the matter effectively. The DA does however agree with the Minister that the recent criminal incidents against tourists are indeed isolated.
The DA commends the police for their excellent efforts recently in arresting suspects linked to the death of a Ukrainian tourist.
However, this does little to change the perception by potential tourists that South Africa is unsafe. It is the responsibility of government, and those departments directly affected, to ensure that visitors are indeed safe whilst they are within our borders and that they know that South Africa is open for business.
It is for this reason that the DA has requested the establishment of an inter-ministerial coordinating committee which includes all affected departments to work together to ensure that tourists are indeed safe in reality and in perception.
The particular ministries affected are:
- Police (for matters of safety and security of tourists),
- Home Affairs (for matters affecting visas)
- Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs (for matters affecting SANParks and major tourists attractions which draw tourists),
- Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (for matters of heritage and protected art and culture sites and areas) and
- Tourism (which has the responsibility of growing the number of tourists to South Africa)
The DA will table this proposal at the next Tourism Portfolio Committee meeting. The reality is that the targets set by the Tourism Department will not be met, and will in fact reverse any gains made, if government does not address issues affecting tourists.
The safety and security of tourists are the top concern for tourists, this is reflected in government’s own reports. The contributions of tourism to our economy must not be underestimated. Not addressing this matter will have a direct impact on our economy and job creation as less tourists means less employed people within the tourism and hospitality sector.
Manny de Freitas MP
DA Shadow Minister of Tourism