Mpumalanga deploys first batch of Tourism Monitors

Mpumalanga deploys first batch of Tourism Monitors

The Mpumalanga province has received its first group of Tourism Monitors in Hazyview in Mpumalanga as part of the National Tourism Safety Strategy to enhance tourism safety ahead of peak summer holiday period. About 200 tourism monitors in total will be deployed across the area according to Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela but for now only 100 will start taking position as soon as possible.

The Deputy Minister made the announcement during the launch of tourism safety programme on Tuesday where he was accompanied by the Mpumalanga SAPS Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela, the CEO of the Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Agency (MTPA), Mduduzi Vilakazi as well as other tourism stakeholders in the province.

South Africa is a popular destination to local and international travellers; however, crime is an unfortunate reality that has affected tourists. While it is the mandate of the police to provide safety and security services, the Department of Tourism, all three spheres of government and the private sector have come together to do their part with additional measures to enhance tourist safety.

Haziview is a tourist attraction on its own, with the Kruger Park situated right near the traffic circle between the old and the new malls. It also embeds everyone’s favourite Perry’s bridge Reptile Park and the best eateries and art shops likely to blow your mind. Tourists who visit the Panorama route mostly do their shopping in Hazyview and many citizens around the area make a living selling their products to tourists who will be visiting Kruger National Park through the Skukuza gate which is only 16 kilometres. 

However, in the previous months, tourism attractions adjacent to this town, including the Paul Kruger Gate have reportedly been filled with high crime, where tourists were mostly highjacked, some to a point of death. In September this year, two American tourists were travelling ten kilometres from Paul Kruger Gate when they were hijacked by two males at gunpoint.

This has caused an international spark of concern, propelling the national department started collaborating with police authorities to eliminate the scourge. A total R174.5 million was set aside in this year’s budget to deploy over 2300 Tourism Monitors Tourism Monitors Programme to supplement safety and security measures by the South African Police Service.

 The Tourism Monitors will be deployed at strategic ports of entry, national parks and other attractions across the country to assist with tourism and safety related information and matters. Their key performance areas include patrolling within the identified attractions and sites/ areas, raise tourism awareness and provide information to tourists about attractions and the country; they will also need to report any crime incidents to SAPS and other relevant enforcement agencies. Lastly, monitors will also assist in tourist victim support.

The deployment of Tourism Monitors is part of the broader tourism safety measures identified in the National Tourism Safety Strategy, according to Mahlalela.

 “The safety of all tourists is paramount and we are determined to do all we can to ensure that all tourists have a safe and memorable experience in South Africa. One of the measures to enhance tourist safety by the National Department of Tourism is the Tourism Monitors programme, which is also a job creation project, where Tourism Monitors are trained to help tourists with any assistance they may need.” said Mahlalela.

Earlier this year, the private sector also launched the Secura Traveller tourism safety app and operations center to assist tourists with a range of services they may need in the event of any incident. The app links tourists to more than 200 service providers including private security companies, medical and translation services.