Given the current Covid-19 situation and that our international borders only reopened recently, South Africans have the perfect excuse to travel and explore locally. After months of missing out on weekly get-togethers, exciting events and long-planned holidays, the recent move to a level 1 lockdown brought the good news that we’ll be able to make up for lost travel time.
With a diverse range of tourism options our country has to offer, there’s no reason to venture far from home to get out and recharge. Travelling domestically will not only support one of the most important industries in our country, but it might be the lower risk travel option too.
Why domestic travel might be easier and safer
It’s easier to keep a tab on the Covid-19 cases and the current situation in your own country compared to an unknown destination. Endless landscapes, abundant animal life, sunny beaches and breathtaking mountains might be on your doorstep without you even realising it. Information about popular and remote destinations, such as wilderness regions and some coastal areas can be spread by word of mouth, making it a seamless travel planning process. These smaller, low density population areas allow for social-distancing protocols to be carried out easily too.
Given the current global environment, you’ll need to up your research and planning game when you decide to travel – especially internationally. With traveling destinations’ regulations and restrictions unpredictably changing, you’ll need to have a plan B for every situation. Getting yourself acquainted with various destinations and the different Covid-19 regulations associated with each might cost you time and money. When you reach your destination in another country, you’ll also need to account for the possibility of undergoing health-checks or quarantining for a significant period of time.
Fits your pocket
The government compiled a Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, guiding the sector on reigniting demand, rejuvenating supply and strengthening enabling capability. In line with this, the Tourism Minister – Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane – released a statement, asking the market to shift its focus and adapt to the needs of locals. He also highlighted that incentives such as rates, discounts, and upgrades concerning domestic travel could go a long way.
Following six months of lockdown, the tourism industry will try to boost domestic travel. If you’re wide awake and quick to respond, you’ll be able to get your hands on great local rates and specials. The next time you’re browsing your preferred social media platform, make sure to check out that holiday destination you’ve always dreamed about visiting but couldn’t afford.
Be a hero
The South African tourism sector supports around 725,00 direct jobs and has been thrown into crisis by the current pandemic, putting these jobs and thousands of businesses at risk. Since lockdown started in March up until the end of May, an estimated amount of R54,2 billion in output may already have been lost. The sector faces a predicted reduction in revenue of 75% for 2020 compared to 2019, leaving 438,000 jobs and R80,2 billion in foreign income at risk.
With 10,23 million international arrivals and 7,11 million domestic holiday trips in 2019, it’s clear that our country is loved by the rest of the world, so let’s continue to love and support it if we have the means to do so. While many of us are still working from home, why not use the time to plan a quick weekend away or the next trip to the bush? Many travelling operators and agents are not flooded with calls and requests now, giving locals the chance to ask for advice on the best routes, finding out about the best excursions and getting access to accommodation deals. If you aren’t planning to travel this year, at least take the time to do research, read blogs and reviews to help you plan that next local trip. And although it’s a small action, remember to like, share and comment as this carries a lot of weight than you may think.