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Safety of tourists to fore as Cape Town gets set for bumper festive season

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The City of Cape Town launched its tourism safety initiative on Wednesday before what officials expect to be a bumper festive season.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said safety would be a priority and about 4,000 uniformed members of the city’s law enforcement and emergency services would be on duty during the holiday season.

“Aside from SAPS and municipal crime prevention activities, the city is making a special deployment of 80 personnel for dedicated safety patrolling of tourism routes at Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain trails, the Bo-Kaap, Waterfront and CBD,” he said.

About R860m had been invested over the past three years in safety and security technology, including drones, dashcams, automatic number plate recognition and CCTV cameras.

Hill-Lewis was speaking against the backdrop of a visiting US tourist being shot in the face and robbed on Friday after being directed by a GPS navigation device to drive through Nyanga on his way from the city’s main airport to Simon’s Town. He is recovering in hospital after surgery.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy said: “We are concerned that the incident took place and have engaged local law enforcement. Our ongoing mission remains a commitment to ensuring the safety of visitors to our shores. We have been in touch with the gentleman and we are committed to ensuring he receives the care and counselling he needs.

“We have a dedicated team to assist visitors in-destination as well as the Namola safety app for an immediate emergency response.”

He directed the public to the TravelWise section on the Cape Town Tourism website for up-to-date safety information and tips. “We urge special caution for visitors following a GPS. Our TravelWise section outlines crime hotspot zones to alert visitors about areas to avoid or enter with caution.”

Safety and security MMC JP Smith said: “Last festive season, our personnel deployed across the metropole executed more than 11,000 operations, working closely with other enforcement and public safety organisations.”

Provincial finance and economic opportunities MEC Mireille Wenger said last week between January and September more than 6.8-million two-way international and domestic passengers passed through Cape Town International Airport — an increase of 60% compared with the same period in 2022.

“We continue to see the impressive growth of tourists coming to the Western Cape. This is exciting and a trend we expect to not only continue, but far exceed previous summer seasons,” she said.

Source: TimesLIVE

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