Bookings are surging across the board
South Africans love the great outdoors, fine wine, great food, and sublime safaris. So, it’s no surprise that airline tickets and accommodation sales went into overdrive as soon as Level 2 lockdown restrictions became official.
While flights to Cape Town with Mango and other budget airline destinations have remained open during the lockdown for the sake of essential workers and business travellers, they’re back in business with a bang this month.
Although most accommodation providers and airlines expected an uptick in bookings, the sheer numbers have caught a few operators by surprise. Day one of the new level, saw the SANParks website crash due to the massive demand for accommodation, game drives, and day trips.
The popular booking engine, TravelStart also saw an instant increase in enquiries in bookings for domestic flights South Africa right from the outset.
Welcome relief for the tourism sector
The long months of inactivity have seen the tourism sector pushed to the very brink of survival, so the huge demand’s a welcome relief.
Fortunately, the industry has used this time wisely so they’re well prepared to welcome local visitors back into the fray.
Empty rooms mean operators have been able to put their employees to work sanitizing every nook and cranny to welcome guests back. Hours have been spent streamlining safety protocols, and training staff on how to cope with the new way of doing things.
Masks and sanitisers are in place wherever needed and popular activities have been fine-tuned to accommodate fewer guests at a time.
Now’s the time to explore South Africa
The best part is that less international travellers mean there’s automatically more space for local guests to visit in safety, and experience some of the wonderful local activities without the usual crowds.
With the whole country to themselves, as well as discounted rates on attractions, tickets, and accommodation, South Africans are taking full advantage of opportunities that may have been out of reach for them before.
This unseasonal upswing in bookings is a boon for the tourism industry. It gives them ample time to fine tune their safety protocols before international tourists flood back in great numbers and it’s provided some much-needed financial relief too.
The influx of local tourists to destinations where international tourists usually dominate the guest count, is also giving the more luxurious operators some much-needed exposure among local travellers.
This could bode well for the future of these high-end operations which are often given a wide berth by local tourists.
The way forward for South African tourism
The large numbers of people eager to get back on the road and in the air show that the South African public has a high degree of faith in the industry’s safety protocols too.
It’s likely that the silver lining at the end of this troublesome year will be a greater appreciation of South African destinations and a new trend towards exploring more of our wonderful local areas in years to come.