The South African Tourism Services Association has condemned the ongoing taxi strike in Cape Town after travel to Cape Town International Airport and tourism was affected this morning.
According to the voice of inbound tourism in the country, its industry WhatsApp groups were inundated, as tourism stakeholders shared on-the-ground updates and up-to-date advice to help smooth the way for fellow operators to travel to and from Cape Town International Airport.
The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) on behalf of Cape Town International Airport, earlier issued communication that even though it was operational, passengers were advised to arrive 4 hours earlier for International travel and 2 hours earlier for Domestic travel to ensure smooth travel as it was working on a reduced staff complement due to the taxi strike.
Update: Please note that @capetownint is open and operational. To ensure a smooth travel experience, passengers are advised to arrive 4 hours earlier for International travel and 2 hours earlier for Domestic travel as we are working on a reduced staff complement.— Airports Company SA (@Airports_ZA) August 7, 2023
In a statement, SATSA chair Oupa Pilane said that this kind of behaviour does tourism no good and that it is a pity that Capetonians and visitors had to endure this disturbance.
“It is a great pity that Capetonians and visiting tourists must endure this disturbance. For tourism, however, the implications are far greater than a short-term inconvenience and safety implications for guests and staff, to whom we are deeply thankful for making every effort to keep the tourism industry functioning despite the challenges they face,” said Pilane.
He also revealed that the organisation’s members have been actively helping each other navigate these disruptions to limit the impact on guests, who are arriving and departing on domestic and international flights, however, while they have an excellent community of stakeholders who are mitigating the impact on travellers, they are not immune as a destination to the longer-term impacts of such a strike and resulting acts of violence.
He said that in the medium to long term, this is particularly damaging from a destination reputation perspective as the UK Government has already issued an advisory about the strikes, warning travellers about the disruption and violence.
“When one considers that just a few weeks ago Cape Town was listed the #1 city in the world by the Telegraph Travel Awards, this kind of behaviour does tourism and its ability to contribute to the economy and job creation no favours,” said Pilane.
Pilane said that the tourism industry is incredibly resilient and used to dealing with crises and that SATSA members operating in Cape Town report that it is business as usual.
“As usual, we will handle this one professionally and do everything we can to ensure that our guests’ experience is as smooth and safe as possible so that they have an exceptional stay in the Mother City, return and tell others of their positive experience,” said Pilane.