Traveller safety and security have always been a priority for the tourism industry, exemplified recently by the collaborative efforts of public and private stakeholders to ensure preparedness ahead of the 2023 peak summer season.
Among these efforts was the inbound industry’s collaborative online session in December, discussing protocols and the steps to be followed in the event of an incident, and also the new National Tourism Crisis Communications Plan. This valuable document ensures a unified front that addresses incidents with prompt, aligned messaging while safeguarding the sector’s reputation.
Our mandate as an industry remains clear – travellers must feel comfortable visiting our shores and, once here, they must be safe, empowered and supported throughout their stay.
Safety at hand
A pioneering national initiative we launched last year demonstrates to the world that South Africa is at the forefront of tourism safety. The SECURA Traveller app has since been endorsed by Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille and promoted at a national level by leading tourism associations. While it is not the ‘silver bullet’ for tourism safety, it fulfils a vital role in emergency response and aftercare.
The purpose of the app is to connect visitors to the largest network of emergency response and tourism support services in South Africa. Whether tourists require medical, crime or ‘stand by me’ support, they can be secure in the knowledge that they have a reliable safety net.
SECURA Traveller’s on-demand smart tech, with GPS location, automatically identifies and dispatches the closest response unit once the emergency button is activated. This includes 5 400 emergency personnel, agents trained in incident management, and more than 2 000 response vehicles nationwide. Our 24/7 Operations Centre makes immediate contact for added peace of mind and engages our specialist tourism support team of traveller ambassadors, translators and logistical facilitators, who are always on standby, as well as provincial tourism safety units.
SECURA Traveller, therefore, offers more than just an emergency response – visitors are never technically travelling alone. While the traveller ambassadors are not trauma professionals, they offer friendly and comforting support and guidance through the post-event process. They have assisted travellers with lost documentation, travel arrangements, clothing, completing police reports or just a cup of coffee. Trauma counselling is arranged if needed.
While it is impossible for the industry to prevent an emergency, we can now ensure a fast and effective response and dedicated empathetic aftercare.
A call to the industry
For SECURA Traveller to be effective, however, it is imperative that the industry embraces and fully integrates it. To assist tourism businesses, we recently launched the SECURA Traveller toolkit of marketing assets to help communicate the benefits of the app and drive adoption. Included are digital screen displays, website sliders, safety tip sheets and table talkers that ensure consistent messaging, branding, and visibility. I encourage businesses to leverage these resources as we work towards our common goal of protecting our visitors, who can now worry less and enjoy their adventures more, knowing that help is available anywhere and anytime.
When travellers choose South Africa, we promise them the experience of a lifetime – SECURA Traveller helps us deliver on that promise with "peace of mind in their pocket".
For more information about the SECURA Traveller App or to download the toolkit, please visit Secura Traveller.