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TThe water shortage currently being experienced in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape of South Africa has provided the country with an opportunity to position itself as a global benchmark for how world-class cities respond to future climate threats.

“Climate change and drought conditions are a global issue not only isolated to South Africa and Cape Town. South Africa’s tourism industry, establishments and attractions are open for business. We are encouraging visitors to not cancel their trips to Cape Town or anywhere across South Africa as water is available – its use is currently restricted and everyone is encouraged to use this precious resource with caution,” said Sisa Ntshona, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism. 

“An important point is that countries around the world are experiencing water shortages. It isn’t a developing world problem, but rather a worldwide one that affects one out of three people globally. Furthermore, other prominent international cities such as Los Angeles and Tokyo have had water restrictions in place for many years, so the current water shortage represents the new normal for sustainable tourism in South Africa,” continued Ntshona.

Since 1996, the World Health Organization has recommended that the international community adopt a figure of 50 litres per capita, per day as a basic water requirement for domestic supply; a comfortable limit meeting all consumption and hygiene requirements. Limiting water intake is not a new phenomenon for Cape Town or any other part of the country. The city has already cut its usage mandate by half over the past three years, from 1200 megalitres per day in 2015, to 540 megalitres per day currently.

“Staying away from South Africa is not part of the solution. Instead, it’s putting strain on a region that depends heavily on tourism. The city has over 1.2 million visitors annually, spending approximately R40 billion, and creating over 300 000 jobs, adding over 7.5% to the city’s total GDP. This spending helps significantly to fund the ongoing water saving projects being implemented; decreasing this input will create further challenges and financial strain. We remain open for business and are ready to welcome travelers from around the world to one of the most beautiful countries on Earth,” concluded Ntshona.

South African Tourism is making a plea to all South Africans, Africans and the global community to work together and be part of the solution. For the tourism industry specifically, it is necessary to demonstrate how to meet the future now and create the “new normal”.

As part of this plea, South African Tourism has instigated a global, multi-disciplinary communications and marketing campaign that reinforces and directs a narrative highlighting that South Africa is open for business, underpinned by the mandate of #WaterWiseTourism across the country.

Join the conversation on social media by using the line, South Africa does #WaterWiseTourism. Together we can take up the water conservation challenge and create global best practices along with the tourism industry.




About South Africa

South Africa is a destination that offers a wide variety of experiences in close proximity.  From wildlife safaris in 22 national parks, to breathtaking scenic outdoor spaces, vibrant modern designer cities and 2,700 km of diverse coastline with Blue Flag beaches. Follow inspiring heritage and cultural journeys to freedom, and include active or adventure activities for any budget.  South Africa welcomes 10 million visitors annually from around the world. Find out more about travel to South Africa at

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