Survey yields dire results

Janine Myburgh, president, Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

A survey by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has revealed some major problems in the central city area that could damage the growing tourism industry.

The survey was undertaken after a leading tourist guide reported that he and other guides had taken a decision not to do any more walking or driven tours through the city and surrounds because of deteriorating conditions.

More than 56% of respondents said informal trading was out of control. Nearly 82% said that they did not feel safe as a pedestrian in the city at night and 23.7% said that they felt unsafe during business hours.

This contrasts sharply with the response to similar questions on the Waterfront where 95% of respondents said they felt safe and that conditions there were clean and orderly.

Law enforcement was highlighted as a problem but views were mixed. Nearly 26% said law enforcement was better than a year ago but 21% said law enforcement had got worse. A big problem was traffic control and traffic law enforcement with 53% of respondents saying the situation was worse than a year ago while 14% said there had been an improvement.

Nearly 58% of respondents said the city was cleaner than it was five years ago while 13% said it was worse.

About 24% said refuse collection in the CBD had improved while 13% said it had got worse.

Problem areas were the Grand Parade, the area surrounding the Castle, the District Six Museum and the Parliamentary buildings, all important tourist attractions. Vagrancy and begging were also cited as serious issues. I think the survey tells us we have work to do. The situation is a lot better than it was in 2000 but there are clear signs that standards are starting to slip and we need to do something about it. The V & A Waterfront sets the standards and we should aim for their 95% approval rating if we are to keep our tourist industry thriving.