Weekend Review: Biometrics delays, R37m cruise boost, Last-minute Cape Town

2016-11-06 20:09 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - The weekend has come and gone and it's time to get into the swing of the week ahead.

To help you along we've rounded up five of the travel stories you might have missed but need to know about.

Take a look...

Weekend-special ekasi vibes all over SA...

Shebeen culture brought out the best of SA's humour as the whereabouts of the now infamous #SaxonwoldShebeen swirled on social media, dishing up some real gems. 

However we couldn't help but serve up an authentic list of must visit SA shebeens - you can check all eight out here.

Also see News24's full State Capture Report coverage here.

Biometric delays tackled head on

Another capture situation that has SA in a flummox is the collection of biometrics for visiting foreigners. The rather bitter-sweet, laborious process aims on the one hand to secure SA's borders, yet on the other travellers are inconvenienced through two-hour long queues in some instances.

SEE: DHA: Biometrics to stay despite festive season spike looming

In an urgent attempt to address the issue, The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), along with other tourism stakeholders and the ministers of Tourism and Finance in South Africa held a Captains of Industry meeting with the Ministers of Tourism and Finance on Friday, 4 November.

According to TBCSA CEO Mmatšatši Ramawela, due to the current austerity measures in the national budget, all DHA vacancies in government positions need to be re-motivated before they can be filled again. 

Three short term solutions have been proposed, subjected to approval from the government, which includes SA Tourism and the Department of Tourism offering to cover some of the financial expenses of the short-term solutions.  

(Traveller24 reader, Gideon Nhundu)

The three short-term solutions proposed:

1. To introduce ushers at the airport to assist with welcoming and  information. 

"Many people stand in the wrong queues and don't even know it until they reach the front," Ramawela says. The ushers can help eliminate such issues and unnecessary frustration by helping people to the right counters off the cuff. 

2. Make waiting periods in the queues more pleasurable for travellers. Ramawela says, "Waiting periods can be used to give travellers information about the various destinations in SA, from helpful, local guides. With the approval of Asca, snacks, food, curious must also be made available to people in the queues."

3. Use staff from other official home affairs counters to assist in peak periods. According to Ramawela, this was done during the Soccer World Cup in 2010 with great success.  

This solution "would need the approval and help of the South African Police Service (SAPS) at the airport, to ensure security is never compromised."   

R37m Cruise Terminal boost for Cape Town 

Cape Town’s Cruise Terminal in E Berth at the Port of Cape Town is set for a , marking the first arrival of the 2016/17 season, will receive a R37-million investment for a facade upgrade to ensure that the Cruise Terminal can match international standards, taking phase one and phase two totals to R50-million.

The investment was announced as German luxury liner Europa marked the first arrival of the 2016/17 season on Friday.

Terminal Operator the V&A Waterfront says the two floors immediately above the Terminal portion have remained largely untouched and will now be developed to accommodate a restaurant and events space.  

Initial upgrades included reception and waiting areas, baggage handling services and immigration and customs facilities, as well as infrastructure.

“The Cruise Terminal represents our first opportunity to welcome visitors to Cape Town, so it is important that their first impression is a good one. From international experience, we know that the cruise line industry offers enormous potential for tourism growth, so our intention is to ensure that we extend the V&A Waterfront experience to the terminal," says V&A Waterfront CEO David Green. 

During the 2015/16 season, the Terminal received a total of 44 vessels. The terminal processed 86 400 passengers, including approximately 37 655 crew members who are effectively tourists when they arrive in Cape Town. The number of liner arrivals in the 2016/17 season is expected to equal that of last season, including visits from the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth.

SEE: PICS: MSC Sinfonia casts off SA’s Cruise Season

This 9-year-old conservation award winner needs your help

In the crazy world we live in today, champions such as Hunter Mitchell, Aquila Animal and Rescue Centre’s ambassador truly give us hope. 

While poaching is robbing future generations of their wildlife heritage, Mitchell at the tender age of eight-years-old decided he would do something about the Rhino's plight. Some 363 rhino have been poached so far in 2016, and while still high it is a far site better than the 1020 estimated rhinos killed in 2014.

In case you didn't know, Mitchell created a crowd-funding initiative to raise money for an abandoned rhino calf at the Aquila Private Game Reserve at the beginning of the year. The baby eventually named Osita”, meaning “from today on-wards it will be better”, was rejected and ill-treated by its parents after it was born on New Year's Eve in 2015.

Young Mitchell ended up raising an estimated  R75 000 and has subsequently scooped the “Visionary Wildlife Warrior for 2016” awarded by the Steve Irwin Wildlife Warrior Foundation in Australia, says Aquila.

But this time the tables have turned and Mitchell and his parents are the ones in need of funds to attend the gala event in Brisbane to receive his award at the end of November.

Unfortunately funds are an issue and ARC together with Rhino Art are appealing to the public to assist in getting this little wildlife warrior across the ocean to collect his award.

"We are looking to raise around R80 000 to send Hunter, his Mom and Grobler across to Australia, while over there Hunter and Grobler will be doing some talks at schools on rhino conservation."

As a result Aquila has sponsored a prize to assist and by simply donating R100, all proceeds goes to Hunter’s trip and you could win an overnight safari for a family of 4 at the award winning 4 star Aquila Private Game Reserve & Spa including all meals, activities and Spa treatments.

To enter click here and quote reference  “Warrior” your name and contact number.

Find Your Last-Minute Escape 

sizzling SA summer lies ahead and we cannot wait! We know some of you have been slogging away without having quite put all the necessary plans in place for the upcoming festive season - we've got your back with our weekly newsletter - Signup here.

Over the next couple of weeks, Traveller24 will be bring you all you need to plan a last-minute escape to all of SA's major cities and holiday hotspots.  To start - Gorgeous, exciting and urban-travel darling, Cape Town.  Find the perfect hiking adventure for you or get the lowdown on ALL the delicious foodie spots and events here

Or try a freedive below the city's two oceans as a different way to escape the crowds. Next week it's Durban's turn, so keep an eye on your inbox. And don't forget to share this with your friends and family so they can also make the most of their stay by Signing up here.

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