…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.
The Department of Tourism, in collaboration with various stakeholders, is preparing for the launch of a safety application aimed at ensuring the security of tourists.
The decision to develop this app comes in response to incidents where tourists have been victims of different forms of crime, including cases of murder.
The murder of a German tourist in Mpumalanga prompted several countries to issue travel advisories cautioning against visiting South Africa due to its high crime rates.
During a media briefing held on Monday, 29 May, the Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille, provided an update on the issue of tourist safety.
The safety app, named SECURA, is scheduled to be officially launched on 1 July 2023.
Minister de Lille explained that the private sector is taking the lead in implementing the SECURA safety app, which focuses exclusively on ensuring the safety of tourists nationwide.
The app will incorporate affordable emergency medical responses, breakdown assistance, and support for crime-related incidents.
One of the key features of the safety app is the panic button, which can be accessed either through a mobile phone or through the app itself.
This panic button will connect travelers and tourism stakeholders with a wide network of emergency responders.
Michael Tollman, representing the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, emphasized the simplicity of using the app.
He acknowledged that changing perceptions will take time but expressed confidence that with the successful implementation of the proposed plan and measures within the next three months, perceptions will gradually shift.
This, in turn, will foster greater confidence and comfort for tourists visiting and traveling within South Africa.