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Tourism Safety Initiative Gains Momentum

The Tourism Safety Initiative (“TSI”) is rapidly gaining momentum as the South African travel and tourism industry’s primary platform for the coordination, promotion and provision of safety support to tourists, writes Kagiso Mosue.

TSI is a travel and tourism private sector safety support initiative, managed and driven by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA). The Council recently appointed a dedicated project manager for TSI, Mr. Ian Janse van Vuuren, who has a long history of working within the intelligence and security environments.  Furthermore, the TSI now boasts a simpler, newly-revamped online incident reporting portal.

The initiative operates on two legs:

1. Proactive risk management, which involves encouraging tourism businesses to report criminal incidents against tourists through the TSI portal. Based on inter alia these incident reports, the TSI will produce weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and quarterly research reports for select client groupings in this space.  Incident reporting is encouraged, even in situations where the case has been opened with the South African Police Services.

2. Reactive incident management, which will see TSI in collaboration with other partners, offer emergency support to the affected businesses or individual tourists.

Whilst the proactive risk management aspect of the project is already active, work is currently underway to finalise finer details of a TSI reactive incident management system which will see the industry tap into a central resource for access to emergency tourist support where required.

TBCSA Chief Executive Officer, Ms.Mmatšatši Ramawela said TSI was an important project for the industry and that she was pleased with the renewed energy with which the project is being pursued.  “A lot of work still lies ahead for us, but overall we are pleased with the progress that has been achieved thus far”.  She highlighted the alignment of TSI to regional and provincial tourism safety initiatives, the finalisation of the TSI emergency support model, agreement on messaging and the conclusion of Private-Public-Partnerships with relevant role-players as some of the major goals the initiative still has to reach.

On the issue of collaboration, Janse van Vuuren, echoed Ramawela’s view, saying: “By our own admission we cannot do this by ourselves with the limited resources at our disposal”.  He underlined the importance of better collaboration within the industry, as well as with the authorities in order to address the issue of crimes targeted at tourists.

“Remember, crime is the core business of criminals, but fighting crime is not the core business of the travel and tourism industry.  This is fundamental paradox that will continue to favour criminals and their modus operandi until Private-Public Partnerships allows a better flow of information sharing and collaboration”.

All incidents can be logged on the TSI website portal at:
www.tourismsafety.co.za or sent via email to info@tourismsafety.co.za

About the author: Ms. Kagiso Mosue is the Corporate Communications Manager at the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) – a member-based organisation made up of Tourism Associations as well as leading businesses operating in the Travel and Tourism sector. TBCSA seeks to ensure that the industry is unified and speaks with one voice when engaging relevant stakeholders on macro-economic issues affecting the sector. For more information visit www.tbcsa.travel