Tourism industry turns its attention to local visitors

Seaside towns and other tourist attractions in SA lost more than R1bn in travel bookings for travel between December and March as a result of travel bans instituted globally against SA

2021-12-01 11:36:00 AM

Seaside towns and other tourist attractions in SA lost more than R1bn in travel bookings for travel between December and March as a result of travel bans instituted globally against SA

Seaside towns and other tourist attractions in SA lost more than R1bn in travel bookings for travel between December and March as a result of travel bans instituted globally against SA

01 December 2021 - 08:57Tourism bodies are focusing on locals following mass cancellations by international tourists after the discovery of the new Covid-19 variant.Image:123RF/simoneemanphotographyThe tourism and hospitality industries are putting their hopes in domestic tourism after mass cancellations by international visitors after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, which has sparked renewed fears around the world that the two-year pandemic might last longer.

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Seaside towns and other tourist attractions in SA, which a week ago were hoping to welcome international visitors , had a tough pill to swallow after they lost more than R1bn in bookings for the December to March period as a result of travel bans instituted globally against SA which last week announced it had sequenced a new Covid-19 variant.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy described domestic tourism as “a pillar of strength” that needed to be embraced and sustained.He said while some tourist attractions, such as Cape Town, were initially arrogant and tended to overlook domestic tourists, during the Covid-19 lockdown this has shifted dramatically, and the industry is starting to see value in investing in community-based tourism. headtopics.com

“Covid-19 has taught us that if you want to remain in business you need to start looking after the locals.  We can see that shift. Restaurants are beginning to see that shift and the diversity which comes in.”As part of boosting this sector, Duminy said a lot of emphasis and investment is being ploughed into community initiatives “to get tourists out of the CBD and into the neighbourhoods- into Khayelitsha, Athlone”.

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One of the campaigns Cape Town Tourism is promoting is the pocket-friendly challenge, which aims to show locals and tourists that the city is a destination for everyone irrespective of their budget.“When people think about tourism they usually think about hotels, restaurants and  attractions, but people don’t understand the power and importance of communities in tourism. Communities are the bedrock of tourism. Communities are where people come from to work in the sector. They are places where there are authentic stories. Tourists want to hang out where locals hang out.

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