This morning – with great fanfare – the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, launched her much-anticipated National Tourism Safety Awareness Campaign at the foot of Table Mountain. But how effective is the plan and does it address the real concerns of the tourism industry?

Some, who spoke to Tourism Update on condition of anonymity, are not convinced.

Speaking at what her department terms a “series of engagements with tourism stakeholders” in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, yesterday (Wednesday) Kubayi-Ngubane “reminded the industry players of the critical role they play in driving tourism growth, and their invaluable contribution in finding solutions to the problems in the province”, according to a government statement.

But when TU asked a high-level tourism insider if the minister had adequately addressed the industry’s concerns about crime and the negative reputation associated with it, the minister’s office had ignored several attempts by the tourism industry to engage with the minister.

“I have also seen the safety plan and it doesn’t impress me,” she said.

The plan, in a nutshell, involves the ministry working with the South African Police Services (SAPS), SANParks and the “industry” to deploy tourism monitors, drones and cameras at key tourist attractions.

Furthermore, an “emergency” safety app will be rolled out by December this year which will guide tourists by, amongst others, providing important numbers around safety and give them tips on how to stay safe .

Private security would also become involved in terms of consulting on the enhancement of current safety strategies, said Kubayi-Ngubane.

South African travel specialist, Marie-Louise Kellet, pointed out that the industry needed to find solutions to ensure government was held accountable for its promises, noting that “fighting” was part of this. “We all need to take action to support civil society organisations who are trying to do this job. OUTA is a good place to start.”