Tourism promotional body, Visit Stellenbosch, recently convened the first meeting to initiate and open discussions with key role-players involved in the safety and security of tourists.

This was driven by the need to establish a Tourism Safety Protocol in the town and therefore protect a vitally important commodity of the South African economy. 

The series of meetings will provide an opportunity to inform and update members and business owners about the development of a sustainable security strategy.

The Tourism Safety Protocol strategy, which will be aligned to the National Tourism Safety Protocol, includes setting up a task force to prevent and tackle crime while simultaneously developing a communications brief to equip visitors with the information they might need to enjoy an incident-free visit.

Other measures include the development of a crisis management protocol, crisis communications, victim support and education of the Community Police Forum and the South African Police Service on how to deal specifically with tourism incidents. 

Spearheading the discussion was Andre Pelser, resident and business owner, who highlighted that the hard work of the SAPS, Community Policing Forum and private security companies in Stellenbosch had seen a 14% decrease in reported crimes over the past year, according to Crime Stats SA.

“While the area has seen this drop, the stakeholders want to do everything possible to further reduce the impact of crime,” reiterated Pelser.

He said it was clear from the discussions that there was a collective intention and motivation to work together to reduce crime through prevention and awareness. “Safety and security forces are taking the decisive steps needed to ensure the safety of all visitors and residents.”