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Cape Town Reinforces Safety Measures Amid Tourism Surge

Published December 30, 2023
7 months ago

Cape Town, a picturesque city at the tip of Africa, is taking decisive steps to enhance the safety of residents and a surge of tourists during the festive season. As the city welcomes over 30,000 daily visitors, a record-breaking initiative—the largest safety operation to date—has been launched by the City of Cape Town in collaboration with Cape Town Tourism.

The program is backed by a substantial three-year investment of R860-million into the City's Safety and Security Directorate. This move aligns with an effort to address further policing needs dictated by the city's budget, as highlighted by JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security.

From early November, Cape Town increased its safety measures as Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis reported the deployment of more than 4,000 enforcement and emergency personnel. These officers form a part of a specialized Tourism Unit consisting of police, South African National Parks officials, and neighborhood watches.

Mayor Hill-Lewis emphasized the deployment of 80 dedicated personnel who focus on patrolling key tourist spots such as Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain trails, the Bo-Kaap, Waterfront, and CBD. This proactive strategy shows a targeted approach to ceasing criminal activity and ensuring safe passage for visitors throughout the city.

In the week leading to Christmas alone, law enforcement agencies made 403 arrests for various offenses, and the Traffic Service accounted for 306 arrests due to driving under the influence, alongside the documentation of thousands of speeding cases. These actions reflect the city's robust response to crime and traffic violations.

To combat recent muggings at Table Mountain National Park, increased patrols and improved coordination within the Tourism Unit have been instituted—measures that James Vos, mayoral committee member for economic growth, assures are making the city’s beloved nature spots safer for use.

Security tactics are evolving beyond mere manpower. Investment in technologies such as ShotSpotter acoustic detection, body and dash cameras, drones, and CCTV is enhancing surveillance not only in tourist areas but across communities troubled by gang-related crime.

This security operation occurs alongside notable achievements in tourism for Cape Town. The city has received accolades as the Greatest City on Earth in the 2023 Telegraph Travel Awards and has truly become an irresistible global hotspot.

Heightened activity at Cape Town International Airport paints a clear picture of the city's elevated status, especially with the recovery in air passengers from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and an impressive spike in visitors from the US. This is partly thanks to the airport's acquisition of seven new high-profile carriers and the introduction of routes from significant air carriers such as Air Belgium, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin Atlantic.

Local businesses, like Wanderer Tours and Travels, have noticed shifts in visitor demographics, with a rise in American tourists marking a departure from the traditionally European-centered market.

Cape Town's array of attractions is prepping for record crowds, with Table Mountain Cableway and Robben Island Museum anticipating high numbers. Tour operators like Wanderer Tours and Travel, however, signal a business decline due to a market shift toward low-cost experiences—a challenge for smaller companies that cannot match the lower rates of larger competitors.

As Cape Town evolves as a destination, local experiences such as culinary tours and township visits offer an intimate look into the city’s culture, adding to the perennial charm of mainstream attractions.

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