Experiencing the immediate impact on the stranded passengers at Cape Town International Airport along with the unfolding shock for people working in the hospitality industry, has been heart-breaking. We are constantly assessing a rapidly changing state of affairs.
Our immediate first step was containment of the situation. This meant responding with urgency to what’s going on. Our official Destination Marketing Organisation, Cape Town Tourism (CTT) immediately activated their TravelWise programme to assist passengers who were desperately trying to leave on the last flights out of Cape Town.
Those people were left stranded and we helped them with logistics such as transport and accommodation requirements. We will continue to help those who are affected, whether it’s travellers who are in limbo or businesses who are depending on those travellers. It’s been great to be part of the dedicated efforts, over the last few days, to ensure we show that Cape Town cares for our visitors after these very unfortunate and sudden travel bans.
The CTT TravelWise programme also ensures that our visitors are safe when in Cape Town. On arrival you are provided with the most up to date safety information, emergency contact numbers and safety tips while out and about in Cape Town.
Last week, I was invited to do the opening address at a quarterly industry safety briefing hosted by CTT. I was so proud to have been invited to this industry session that was attended by the South African Police Service (SAPS), Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), SANPARKS, Consular Generals and tourism industry members. These bodies have combined efforts to ensure safety is a key priority leading into our festive season. While all of us continue to adjust to the changes in our world, there are safety trends to watch for, which were identified by these relevant bodies and solutions discussed to ensure our locals and our visitors are safe.
Another way CTT are equipping visitors for a safe holiday is with the recent announcement of their partnership with safety response app, Namola. The main aim of this partnership is to give visitors and locals peace of mind wherever you go. Namola is an app that pinpoints your location, immediately gives you an emergency operator to talk to, and gets you the help you need and does so speedily.
While safety and security in Cape Town present a serious challenge when it comes to tourism in a popular destination for tourists and visitors, now more than ever during these uncertain times, travellers and locals alike need to know that, while they are out and about in Cape Town, they have quick access to an emergency operator to get help should they need to. Namola is free to download and can be accessed easily from your smartphone. If you have safety concerns or need help immediately, just open the app and tap. It’s that simple. The app then uses your phone’s GPS location to tell nearby responders who you are and where you are. Trained operators will confirm details and dispatch help from near-by police, sentinels or other emergency officials, so I strongly encourage you to download this app, if you are a visitor or a Cape Town local.
We remain committed to ensuring our destination is safe and ready to welcome travellers again and I am proud of the collaborative efforts of our official Destination Marketing and Management Organisation, SAPS, CCID, SANPARKS and Namola. We facilitate year-round programmes focusing on the prevention of tourist and visitor safety incidents through community, stakeholder and enforcement engagements, and implement the use of technology to ensure a safer Cape Town.