Robben Island Museum (RIM) has announced the resumption of tours from Monday, September 14  following President Cyril Ramaposa’s announcement on the country’s official move to Lockdown Level 2.

Based on the current circumstances, RIM will only operate two tours on a weekly basis – Mondays and Saturdays at 11am. Tour capacity and frequency will be relooked and gradually increased based on the domestic demand and reopening of international travel.

“The effect of the COVID-19 resulted in numerous resource challenges facing the institution and the tourism industry as a whole. Reopening will give all of us an opportunity to gradually come back stronger and rebuild the tourism industry together,” shares Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum Spokesperson.

COVID-19 TOUR PROTOCOLS

“RIM is continuously sensitive of the issues both from a business operational perspective and also from a tourist / customer perspective and ensuring we find the right balance to both mitigate operational risk and in maintaining customer satisfaction; whilst prioritising the safety of staff and their livelihoods,” adds Ramaboa.

Stringent health protocols will be followed throughout the visitor experience value chain to ensure that facilities are compliant and meet all safety minimum standards for visitors and employees. These include, but not limited to the following measures:

– No person will be permitted to enter the premises or participate in a tour without wearing a mask

– COVID-19 screening and testing is conducted at the main entrance of all premises, and it is compulsory.

– Several COVID-19 procedures have been developed to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including a screening and testing procedure for dealing with suspected, and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

– RIM has appointed a hygiene service company to decontaminate and disinfect all affected areas in an event of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

– Employees, including all operational staff, are receiving training on all COVID 19 procedures

– Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed at various locations.

– Social distancing markings, and other COVID-19 signage have been installed at various locations to remind people of the health and safety protocols.

– The ferries and vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected before, and after every tour.

– Additionally, RIM is in the process of applying for the WTTC Safe Travels stamp as an additional visitor safety measure.

CATERING FOR THE LOCAL MARKET

One of RIM’s core essences is to make the Island more accessible to domestic visitors (South Africans), especially the communities surrounding RIM, with access to Robben Island as a National resource and World Heritage Site.

RIM acknowledge consumers’ plea for reduced rates in accessing the Island. As such, RIM has always had a Concessions and Complimentary Visits Policy that caters for the domestic market and special groups such as pensioners, schools, cultural organisations, NGO’s, churches and etc.

In 2019, RIM introduced a two-tier pricing model introducing a domestic and an international rate. This year, RIM’s pricing model will be further scrutinised to explore alternative possibilities for the domestic market.  However, no ticket increase will be implemented for this financial year.

With the current pandemic, it is highly likely that demand may be reduced – however RIM will use the month of September as a process to test the market and used as a benchmark for the coming months.

“At this stage, we can only rely on meaningful collaborations with tourism partners within the City, such as the Cape Town Big 6 and tour operators, in order for all of us to see a meaningful recovery whilst being mindful on the financial impact the pandemic has had on the ordinary South African citizen and their ability to afford leisure experiences,” shares Ramaboa

OPERATIONAL CAPACITY

RIM has determined numbers for operations based on the minimum social distancing requirement of 1.5 metres, and in line with the seventy to hundred percent (70%-100%) occupancy for public transport. Therefore, as a precaution, each ferry will carry a maximum of seventy percent (70%) passengers for now while buses will load fifty percent (50%) of its capacity. However, the group will be divided into smaller groups of twenty-five (25) upon arrival to the island. Sites that will be prioritised are:

Maximum Security Prison, Visitor Centre, Lime Quarry and the Robert Sobukwe Complex.

TICKET PRICES AND BOOKING PROCEDURE

Ticket sales are available at Nelson Mandela Gateway (NMG), but we strongly encourage tickets to be purchased at our user-friendly online ticketing system or at Pick ’N Pay.

  • South African Adult rate: R400 / Non South African Adult rate: R600
  • South African Child (under 18) rate: R210 / Non South African Child (under 18) rate: R310

“The Museum has been closed for five months now due to the National Lockdown in attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19 and we are excited to welcome our local visitors and implore them to choose the Island as a destination of choice. Let us reconnect because ‘later’ has finally arrived!” concludes Ramaboa.

For more information, please visit www.robben-island.org.za or follow Robben Island Museum’s social media pages.

Also read: Robben Island, a place where time stood still 

Picture: Unsplash

Article written by

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