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Safety in Tourism

Cape Town Tourism and Safer Together hosted at False Bay College

A community building event organised by Safer Together in Muizenberg was held at the newly refurbished and very smart False BayCollege on Monday 14 May. Guest speaker was Enver Duminy, Executive Manager for Tourism services, Cape Town Tourism. The purpose of the get-together was to ‘build community’.

The hospitality students studying at False BayCollege saw to it that guests, mainly business people from Muizenberg, were well fed and “watered’, a sumptuous array of eats on the tables. Melanie Vermaak of False Bay College in her introduction to the morning’s proceedings said that “time, blood sweat and tears went into the renovations but the outcome was mostly worth the pain involved.” The new conference centre will be linked to a restaurant, will have a conference manager and will be rented out, with False Bay College students and their highly trained graduates in service. Apart from the beautiful restaurant overlooking Muizenberg beach the College has three training kitchens, a virtual classroom and an “outstanding OLC where students can access the internet to do research for projects.”

The Muizenberg campus of False Bay College offers hospitality studies and early childhood education and training programmes. Melanie appealed to local business people to give the students work-based experience. “We want to forge partnerships with businesses in the area. Who could say no to a free pair of hands for five days?” There will be a team of five members of staff ensuring that all students get placed. She thanked Knead and the Empire Cafe for already giving students such an opportunity.

Melanie Burke, chairwoman of Safer Together, in her introduction said “Safety gets built into community when we build community”. After thanking Liz Linsell and the Safer Together team for  their input into the organisation of the event, she introduced Enver Duminy who spoke about the decline in tourist numbers to Cape Town as a result of a global recession. This impacts heavily on the GDP of the Western Cape. He stressed that “we have to change negative perceptions about South Africa. It does not serve us well to talk about the bad weather in Cape Town or the incidence of crime for in doing so we perpetuate a stigma. Crime happens all over the world. Every city on the globe has its safe and unsafe areas.”

He also expressed the concern that the tourism industry is overselling the luxury brands. “Following the very successful World Cup we are still selling the same thing - the Big 5. South Africa cannot compete with Kenya and Tanzania in terms of wildlife. What we need to market is the unexpected. We have a wide variety of accommodation in Cape Town. We have excellent packages of three nights’ accommodation in 3-star hotels with a ticket to a show and a Cape Town ‘experience’, for only R2000. We need to share information like this with family and friends as South Africans make up 80% of the holiday market.”

To illustrate the array of places and activities to be enjoyed in Cape Town, he showed a short but delightful video “You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town!”

Referring to the Band Aid Project, Enver stressed that what happens outside our communities impacts on what occurs in them. “It is very important to focus on safety and to create safety forums, sharing insights with the tourism industry. Safety is a partnership – we all need to get involved. Use the social media to create awareness of both safety issues as well as of attractions and events that visitors and locals alike would enjoy. If one of our visitors is involved in an unfortunate experience, immediately let Cape Town Tourism know. We will respond appropriately and get the right people out to handle the situation. It is important that visitors see that we care.”  With regard to the latter, one of the participants at the event suggested that we should all “pump our good experiences on Trip Advisor” and another suggested that locals get to know their tour guides.

The function ended with a proposal for further community initiatives and a tour around the smartly refurbished college campus.

With acknowledgement to Scenic South:   www.scenicsouth.co.za

See Safer Together events calendar at  www.scenicsouth.co.za/events/