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Don't let travel bans punish you - Now's the best time to take a break

Once again, South Africa finds herself isolated from the rest of the world at a critical time for the tourism industry. We can criticize this knee-jerk reaction of foreign nations as much as we like, but there's little we can do about it - or is there?
Don't let travel bans punish you - Now's the best time to take a break

A snap survey by SATSA has revealed that the South African tourism industry lost out on over 900 million rands worth of bookings within two days of the UK’s latest travel ban. This comes after a massive upsurge in bookings due to pent-up demand during South Africa’s long stint on the UK red list.

The way forward

We can rest assured that our foreign fans are just as bitterly disappointed about this situation as we are. They too, have relished the thought of a long-awaited safari or Cape Town summer break.

If things continue as they are, our comprehensive tourism offering will end up greatly reduced at the end of all this.

So, the bottom line is, it’s up to us to keep the tourism candle burning for our sakes and for theirs.

Once again, South Africans will have to rally together to get ourselves out of the situation that’s engulfed us. With over 1.5 million jobs on the line, and billions of rands worth of revenue already lost to the industry, it’s a big ask...

On the bright side, taking an unexpected local break isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

Help yourself and South African tourism

For locals, booking flights from Cape Town to Johannesburg and back during the festive season just became a breeze.

Looking for accommodation in Kruger this December, or a coastal break in Durban? It’s going to be easier to find a space than ever before.

This opens the door for locals to venture into the no-man’s land of peak season bookings on Domestic Airlines at the best time of the year – a period that’s often off-limits to those with only the humble rand to spend.

It’s only a matter of time before never-seen-before December/January accommodation specials start to raise their heads too.

The best part is that employees can convince the boss that their last-minute leave application is in the name of a greater good or take a staycation remote working holiday.

Sharing is caring when it comes to tourism

A London-based South African has started the ball rolling with her “To South Africa With Love initiative”, which revolves around urging her fellow expats to support tourism from their distant new homes.

While her suggestions are directed abroad, we can take inspiration from them too.

The campaign requests that expats and those who’ve had their holiday plans cancelled help support SA tourism by sending vouchers or money to local friends so that they can enjoy what the country has to offer.

Those who are fortunate enough to have local travel plans and the resources to share, are urged to invite friends along and pay their costs.

She’s engaging with local tourism authorities and businesses to get behind this project by offering To South Africa With Love vouchers on their websites for this purpose.

If you live in a tourism area, why not invite friends to visit for a few days and show them the sights in your locality. The entry fees, meals, and drinks you buy can help to keep a small business limping along.

Instead of frivolous gifts, locals should consider gifting friends and families with meal vouchers or tickets to popular nearby attractions or spoiling their families with a getaway. Every little bit helps.

Think long term

South Africans are renowned for their uncanny ability to get themselves out of a jam against the worst odds. If we don’t act now, the country stands to lose billions in tourism revenue in the years to come. So, don’t let foreign travel bans get you down this December, get your vaccination, book your flights, don your mask, and reward yourself and SA tourism with a short break to somewhere special soon.

13 Dec 2021 15:02