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Cape Town water crisis

Latest update on what the Indian travellers must know about the Cape Town water crisis which is covered by global media since a year now. Hanneli Slabber, Regional General Manager - India, Australia & Asia, South Africa Tourism gives out the latest update on Cape Town crisis and what travellers must know.

She also addressed tourists who might balk at the idea of visiting Cape Town, for fear of siphoning water from locals. The number of annual international visitors is so modest (about 1 per cent of the population of 3.75 million) that their effect on the overall supply is as negligible as swallowing a mouthful of water in the ocean.

Also of note, the Western Cape province supports more than 300,000 tourism jobs that will suffer if people stay away. Visitors don't have to pick sides: They can boost the tourism industry and contribute to the cause. One of the greatest misconceptions is that the entire country is struggling with a water shortage. Only Cape Town is. The rest of the country, including Johannesburg, the Cape Winelands and the whale-watching hub of Hermanus, is drinking and rinsing as usual.

Some enterprises are taking a more self-sustaining approach. Tsogo Sun, one of the country's largest hotel and casino operators, plans to build a desalination plant that will supply water to its Cape Town hotels. Others are offering incentives. At Hotel Verde, guests earn Verdinos (the in-house currency worth about 5 rand, or 50 cents) for participating in such eco-friendly activities as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and reusing towels. Both appear on Cape Town Tourism's online list of water-wise accommodations.

As more cities around the world face looming shortages, Slabber hopes that water conservation becomes as ingrained in our psyches as recycling.

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