How tourism is weathering the drought in Cape Town

The-Cullinan-Tsogo-SunTsogo Sun will install a desalination plant for its Cape Town hotels and resorts so pressure can be taken off the municipal water supply in the midst of a region-wide drought.

Cape Town’s water crisis has been dominating headlines recently. While the city has managed to push back Day Zero to July 2018, the looming threat of a full-blown water crisis is ever-present. Cape Town may have managed to curb excessive water usage and avoid the dry spell for now but measures must be taken to plan for a future plagued by lack of water.

The City of Cape Town has instituted a new water metering system and residents have been warned to curb their water usage or beware of fines. Yet what of hotels and resorts? In 2017 Cape Town was awarded the title of ‘Number One City in Africa for Business Tourism Events’ by the International Congress and Convention Association. This was the city’s fourth consecutive win. Tourism plays an integral role in the region’s economy with visitors spending almost R40 billion annually. The Cape Town tourism industry supports approximately 300 000 direct and indirect employment opportunities. Cape Town has also just partnered with NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organisation, to encourage tourism between the two iconic cities.

So how does tourism continue to flourish against the backdrop of potential environmental disaster?

Hospitality institutions need to get creative when it comes to water saving and need to make big plans in advance.

Tsogo Sun’s hotels and resorts in Cape Town are facing this challenge head on.

The hotel chain has made arrangements to have water available for its guests through alternative water augmentation, such as boreholes and by installing a desalination plant.

Ravi Nadasen, chief operating officer for the Tsogo Sun Group explains, ‘This will enable us to, in close consultation with the City of Cape Town, take some of our largest properties off the water grid and support the efforts to avoid Day Zero.

‘The desalination plant will probably be on line within the next few weeks. The hotels that will be supported by the plant include Southern Sun-The Cullinan, Southern Sun Waterfront and The Westin Cape Town, which is owned by the Hospitality Property Fund, a subsidiary of Tsogo Sun Holdings.’

Nadasen says all guests and operators can be reassured that Tsogo Sun will honour all confirmed hotel bookings.

‘We will continue to consult with all relevant stakeholders, particularly the City of Cape Town, with a firm focus on implementing all recommended measures to address the current water shortage crisis,’ he says.

Relative to households and industry, tourists use very little water because they make up such a small part of the resident population of the Western Cape and therefore have a relatively limited impact on water resources. International tourists to Cape Town add around one percent to the population over the course of the year. If you add domestic tourists this number increases to 2.4 percent and, even at the peak of the season, tourists make up less than five percent of the population of the city.

However, every bit counts and Tsogo Sun remains committed to saving water at its hotels in Cape Town and has successfully implemented a number of water saving initiatives in order to do so.

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