In May 2017, the South African government was faced with the possibility of its largest city running out of water. Water stockpiling and panic began upon the goverment’s announcement of ‘day zero’, when the dam levels would be so low that taps in Cape Town would be turned off.
Residents leapt into action and requested the restriction of water use. Reusing shower water and limiting toilet flushing and night-time irrigation were among measures that saved the city from running dry.
Given the importance of tourism to the South African economy, local politicians were worried about the impact the water-saving scheme might have on the industry. It seemed clear that travellers concerned about water use would stay away; the question was to what extent tourism would be affected by the situation. South Africa’s position as a popular travel destination was under threat.