Tourists urged not to cancel trips over SA water hurdles

Cape Town - South African Tourism is encouraging tourists not to cancel their trips to the Eastern, Northern or Western Cape - or anywhere in SA - due to water challenges.

"Staying away from the Eastern, Northern or Western Cape is not part of the solution, but rather it is causing further anxiety on a region that depends heavily on tourism and thus becoming more entrenched in the problem," SAT states in a #WaterWiseTourism awareness report.

"To cancel trips is not the solution. We are open for business. Water is available. It is, however, restricted and everyone is encouraged to use it responsibly."

At the same time the tourism body emphasises that there is no going back to the "old normal" of water use in SA's tourism industry - even if the rains come and the drought ends.

"If we didn’t before, we now all understand how precious water is and will never allow each other or visitors to use it without care again," SAT says.

The industry body undertakes to share its innovative ideas and outline a road map for the future.

"The tourism industry and the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape are being forever transformed, creating solutions for the rest of the world. This is a global turning point on how to do responsible tourism," SAT explains.

SAT urges the industry to get behind the #WaterWiseTourism movement and embrace the "new normal" of sustainable tourism by encouraging all travellers and citizens to use water wisely.

"SA is now becoming the global benchmark for how world-class cities respond to future climate threats around the world," according to SAT.

"Globally, the new normal in terms of water usage is to practice techniques for saving and being resourceful."

Currently in Cape Town, everyone is limited to 50 litres of water per person per day, which, according to SAT, still allows individuals to shower, boil water for food, practice basic hygiene, provide for household pets and drink the recommended amounts of water.

SAT points out that since 1996, the World Health Organisation has recommended that the international community adopts a figure of 50 litres per capita per day as a basic water requirement for domestic supply.

"The Eastern, Northern and Western Cape still boasts some of the world’s best natural resources and landmarks. Yes, we have water restrictions in place in Cape Town, but how we manage this together as part of being responsible tourists and citizens anywhere in the world," says SAT.

"We all have to understand #WaterWiseTourism. We don’t have a choice any longer."

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