South Africa: Cape Town drought hurts key tourism industry

Drought hit the tourism industry in Cape Town, as tourists were told not to use baths and to shower for less than two minutes!

It may be recalled 16 April is Day Zero, when taps will be turned off due to lack of water - officials are already starting to worry about the effect on the all important tourism industry. Around 10 million tourists visited Cape Town last year and tourism accounted for an estimated 9% of South Africa's economic output.

There are fears that, many tourists will stay away, causing trouble for a country already suffering from 25% unemployment, as water restrictions get tougher.

Enver Duminy, chief executive officer at Cape Town Tourism feel the knock-on effect of the water conservation crossroads has had an impact on tourism. There are no official numbers yet but tourism has already saw cancellations; even as the city residents themselves have a restriction that limit them to 50 litres of water per day. An average bath holds around 80 litres.

Using city drinking water to wash vehicles, hose paved areas, water gardens and fill pools is illegal and there are fines for those who break the rules.

While Cape Town has many ocean-side mansions accustomed to plentiful water supply, a quarter of its population lives in settlements where water comes from communal taps. The situation highlights the divide between the city's rich - many of whom are buying artificial grass, water tanks and bottled water - and its poor.