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Cadets will help tourists

TOURISTS to Joburg can expect hassle-free visits to some of the hotspots during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, thanks to an initiative by the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC) and the metro police department (JMPD).

The two are collaborating with the emergency management services on a tourism cadet programme, to meet the demands of visitors during the football tournament. Tourism cadets are trained through the project, and then are sent to key tourist attractions around the city, like Vilakazi Street in Orlando, in Soweto. High volumes of tourists are expected to visit the famous area.

Sourced from unemployed youth and previously disadvantaged communities, 200 cadets have undergone training in safety and security from the JMPD, while their exposure to tourism requirements and service expectations has been facilitated by the JTC.

Lindiwe Kwele, the chief executive officer of the JTC, said that such an initiative contributed to the visible policing efforts of the City, to ensure memorable experiences for visitors.

"This is an exciting initiative in keeping with the objectives of the Nodal Tourism Developmental Framework, designed to ensure efficient tourism development and availability of tourism services," she added.

"It's estimated that during the 2010 World Cup, there will be a total of 3,5 million participants, of which a third will be foreign arrivals.

"As host to a large proportion of the games, as well as the opening and closing events, it is incumbent upon the City of Johannesburg to provide highly satisfactory experiences to tourists during the World Cup and beyond."

She explained that the Tourism Cadet Project was part of the JTC's strategy to create and maintain a safe, tourist-friendly city during and after the tournament.

Initiatives such as these would ensure that perceptions of Johannesburg as a destination changed forever. The hosting of the games provided the tourism sector with an added opportunity to elevate service levels to world standards.

The project evolved when the JTC asked that in addition to the extra 2 000 staff the JMPD would be employing before the World Cup, it could employ safety and security cadets to cater specifically to the needs of tourists.

The cadets will be managed by the JMPD, receiving ongoing training, and will get monthly stipends from the City's department of economic development's Expanded Public Works Programme funds. The project will run for five years.