President Donald Trump. The state department said that it's citizens should exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime, civil unrest, and drought. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

CAPE TOWN – US citizens have been warned to take increased caution when entering South Africa, according to a new statement by the Department of State.

The state department said on Friday that it's citizens should exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime, civil unrest, and drought. According to the US, violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and "smash-and-grab" attacks on vehicles, is common in SA. 

Moreover, the statement said that there is a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark. The US also warned its residents that demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently in South Africa and these can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services.

These events can turn violent, the statement read. 

THE DROUGHT

US tourists were also told about the drought affecting many parts of SA. 

"South Africa’s Western, Eastern, and Northern Cape Provinces are experiencing a severe drought. Water restrictions in Cape Town, which limit household water use to 50 liters per person per day, remain in effect. Water supplied in some other areas may also be affected."

SAFETY TIPS FOR US TOURISTS

  • If you decide to travel to South Africa:
  • Avoid walking alone, especially after dark.
  • Avoid visiting informal settlement areas unless you are with someone familiar with the area.
  • Do not display cash or valuables.
  • Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
  • Always carry a copy of your US passport and visa (if applicable). Keep original documents in a secure location. 
  • Conserve water and follow local guidance on water use for tourists and Save Like a Local.
  • Check the City of Cape Town website for up-to-date information and guidance on how to manage water consumption.
  • Refer to the Nelson Mandela Bay’s website for updates on water restrictions in effect in the Eastern Cape.
  • Monitor water levels at the City of Cape Town’s Water Dashboard.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review, the Crime and Safety Report for South Africa.
  • US citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

TOURISM IN SA 

At the 2018 International Travel Trade Show in Germany held in March 2018, South African Tourism chief executive Sisa Ntshona said that tourism is vitally important to the South African economy, and that the sector should be nurtured for sustained and inclusive growth. 

Recent data from Stats SA show how important tourism actually is.

  • Tourism sector directly contributed 2,9 percent to South African gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, according to the latest release of Stats SA’s annual Tourism Satellite Account for South Africa report. 
  • This makes the tourism sector a larger contributor than agriculture, but smaller than other industries such as construction and mining.
  • The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to South Africa's GDP was R136bn, 2.9 percent of total GDP in SA, according to World Travel and Tourism report 2018.
  • This figure is forecasted to rise by 2.4 percent in 2018, and to rise by 3.6 percent pa, from 2018-2028, to R197.9bn, 3.3 percent of total GDP in 2028.
  • In 2017 Travel & Tourism directly supported 726 500 jobs (4.5 percent of total employment). This is expected to rise by 1 percent in 2018 and rise by 2.9 percent pa to 980 000 jobs (5.2 percent of total employment) in 2028.
  • In 2017, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 9.5 percent of total employment (1 530 500 jobs). This is expected to rise by 3.3 percent in 2018 to 1 580 500 jobs and rise by 2.8 percent pa to 2 082 000 jobs in 2028 (11.1 percent of total).

– BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE