Keeping tourists safe

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Safety and Security and Economic Development and Planning departments will today launch a project to enhance the economy through tourism safety.

Smangaliso Shongwe, Mpumalanga's spokesman for the Department of Economic Development and Planning, said the aim of the project is to create and ensure a safe haven for tourists.

"Mpumalanga is one of South Africa's top tourist destinations and it is important to ensure that tourists who visit the province are safe," said Shongwe.

He said the Department of Economic Development and Planning initiated the tourism monitor project in partnership with the Safety and Security Department in 2002.

"Both MEC's Craig Padayachee and Fish Mahlalela appointed a task team to assist with the management and planning of the project," said Shongwe.

"A steering committee for the project has also been established to address the safety of tourists.

"Crime on tourists will not be tolerated because it impacts negatively on the growth of the province's tourism industry.

"The project includes SAPS operations in strategic tourist areas. An awareness programme focusing on communities where incidents against tourists have escalated was also formulated," said Shongwe.

He said crime statistics have significantly reduced in areas where tourism monitors were visible.