North West unveils tourism safety plan for Sun City routes

Traffic oficers
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Tourism stakeholders in the North West have initiated a tourism safety and security festive season plan to mitigate security concerns on the N4 and R556 routes leading to the world-renowned Sun City Resort.

This follows a string of armed robberies of international tourists, including the recent armed robbery of 11 tourists last week who were on a tour bus to Sun City on the R556.

The tourism safety and security festive season short-term plan includes protocols for tour operators transporting international tourists and escorts to their destinations and for the deployment of 35 vehicles to all routes of concern.

 The Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s Sarah Manone explains, “So we’ve had about four incidences in the province. The first one happened on the 7th of October 2023. The incident location happened in Tsitsing junction on the R556 it included 9 Spanish nationals and one driver, and then there were jewelry and watches, and money which were stolen. And the case was opened. The second case was on the 24th of November between Makolokwe and Segwaelane. It involved 32 Austrians, 1 local and one Austrian tour guide, and one driver. No case was opened because the driver took the decision to drive through without stopping and on the 2nd of December 6 Germans and two Polish and one European and two British and one driver.”

All stakeholders in the sector have joined hands to mitigate these tourist safety and security concerns.

General Manager of Sun City Resort, Brett Hoppe says “We have not particularly had incidents of this nature to this point. So this necessitated us to develop a plan very quickly. The province has deployed 35 vehicles over the season across the province and they will be providing escorts to those large-scale tour operator movements across the province. We have been directing tour buses to use the N4 to reach the Pilanesberg area. A centralised email address and landline number are being utilised for all big groups traveling this route. saps will be kept informed through daily reports which will be shared by the data collection agents located at Sun City.

Hoppe says while the focus has been on tour buses, other vehicles have also been considered.

“People are targetting tour coaches because they represent significant value. If you have 35 international tourists in a single location with watches, typically cameras, forex, tablets, etc, it is much more meaningful than a single vehicle. We believe that potentially these vehicles are being followed from Gauteng into the North West. Although that is speculation at this point in time, but there is a single mo that has been demonstrated at this point and it has not thus far targetted individual vehicles, it has targetted large movements of international tourists.”

The Tourism Safety and Security hotline can be contacted via a WhatsApp text at 064 859 6795 or Etelanw@suninternational.com.