It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for many industries, but the tourism space has really had it tough. With ever-changing regulations and restrictions, South African businesses have had to constantly adapt their offerings to the current lockdown level – often with little to no notice.
This summer, however, brings about hope. People are getting vaccinated in the millions, and our international borders are slowly opening up, making it possible for more people to visit our country this festive season. But of course, things won’t look the same as they once did. Read on for five things that will be different about travel this summer.
- People are looking for more affordable travel
The rise of the budget-conscious traveller has opened up the door to very interesting experiences as you explore. Gone are the days where you need to spend exorbitant amounts of money just to travel beyond your city. Whether it’s a staycation, a beach getaway, or a long-haul trip you’ve been wanting to do for ages, travel has become more accessible with tools to help you find a holiday fit for your budget. By using a global flight search and travel deals website like Cheapflights, you are able to find flights, accommodation, car hire and inspiration about things to do in any place in the world you’re interested in.
- Local travel is bigger than ever
Local travel is going to be bigger than ever in South Africa this summer, as noted by Jurni, a platform that allows travellers to find and book their stays in highly localised areas. Their Chairman, expert in the tourism industry Jerry Mabena, observed an uptick in interest in domestic travel.
“The biggest contributor of tourism in South Africa has been the international tourist. However, the recent resurgence in domestic travel is testament to the fact that SA also has a budding domestic tourism sector,’ comments Mabena.
”And we believe that it is about to enter an amazing blooming phase. Just consider the number of people going on hikes and the increase in nature-bound travel to destinations like Kruger National Park. These buds need support and Jurni is well placed to be the connector and facilitator of this process.”
- The rise of off-the-beaten track locations
A recent report commissioned by Airbnb and done by Genesis Analytics shows that people are looking to stay in lesser-known tourist destinations across the country. This report shows that the fastest growth was seen outside the typical tourist destinations in the North West, where guest travel grew by 130% annually between 2016 and 2019, showing how Airbnb spreads the benefits of tourism and stimulates the economy and entrepreneurship across the country.
According to Genesis Analytics analysis of Airbnb data, evidence from the townships of Soweto and Tembisa shows that before 2019 there were more visits from international tourists than domestic tourists. However, by 2019 the pattern had reversed as townships became a popular domestic tourism destination.
- South Africans are willing to splurge
With South Africa having been on “red lists” across the world, we weren’t able to leave our country. As a result, many people have taken to spending their holiday savings on luxury local trips.
Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge, opened in the heart of the pandemic in December 2020. With little to no international tourists coming to South Africa over the last few months, the hotel has seen a steady stream of bookings from local guests looking for an incredibly unique luxury experience.
- More family holidays
This year has seen and will continue to see an uptick in family holiday bookings.
“We have seen a great interest in our family rooms and offers from South African families,” notes Clinton Thom of Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront. “And it’s not just the families with younger kids. Those with older, teenage children are also holidaying together more than we’ve seen before.”
Families remain careful about who they socialise with and let into their ‘bubbles’. And many families have sadly lost loved ones so it’s become more important than ever before to spend quality time together.