Joint statement issued by City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Tourism, Alderman James Vos and Cape Town Tourism CEO, Enver Duminy
As a result of the current coronavirus situation, we, the City of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism, have decided to temporarily close our Visitor Information Centres (VICs) and redeploy staff to different areas of the business where they are needed and will be able to effectively assist and communicate with key stakeholders regarding updates and action plans.
The temporary shut-down, which will not result in any job losses, will affect the visitor’s information centres located in the City Centre, Cape Town International Airport, Kirstenbosh, Simon’s Town and Somerset West.
This decision was taken in light of the drop in the number of tourists at the visitor information centres, the safety of employees, and the need for additional staff to work in other capacities at Cape Town Tourism.
There are no quick fixes and one thing is clear, this crisis calls for innovation and smart solutions as we brace ourselves for the economic and social impact of the outbreak.
In order to co-ordinate and streamline our response, two task teams, one on tourism and the other on the economy have been established, initiated by the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management. Much work has already been done. These teams are gathering information to assess the scale of the impact of the pandemic including sector specific impacts so we are best placed to understand what kind of assistance will be most effective.
Based on the facts, these teams are developing responses, action plans and will soon begin work on our recovery plan.
To ensure Cape Town Tourism will provide uninterrupted visitor information services, as a result of increased digital and online traffic, some of the frontline information staff will be deployed to manage live chats online via 188.8.131.52. Additionally, Cape Town Tourism’s public call centre, 0861 322 223 will be ramped up with a rotational basis roster to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week during this crisis.
This is a difficult period for all players in our city’s tourism sector and all are feeling pain as we battle against COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation, changing operational structures where necessary, to ensure that we are still able to provide services to the public and members even in light of this new reality we now live in.