Published on : Wednesday, July 29, 2020
The deadly COVID-19 pandemic has been deeply ravaging the tourism, hotel, aviation industry of South Africa since the month of March 5. Now COVID-19 lockdown, which was enforced since March 27, has forced the closure of many small businesses in the tourism sector. Ms. Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head, MEISEA, South African Tourism, in an exclusive interview with Mr. Apratim Ghoshal, Editor, Travel And Tour World, speaks about how the tourism sector in South Africa is planning to survive. She also shared how the South African government is fighting against this deadly pandemic by initializing strict hygiene protocols.
Precautions & Safety Measures
Now the South African Tourism is pushing to reopen its borders by September. With the four months of strict lockdown, the lack of tourism is hurting hundreds of thousands across South Africa. Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head, MEISEA, South African Tourism says “South Africa is a very people centric country. It is a time to pause. There is a huge shift of travel experiences. It has completely changed. We are stressing to reopen tourism and economic lifelines. Immediately, we checked our budgets and distribute the money to tour operators and small businesses. We prioritize the new demand of travellers with all our safety and precaution measures to make the journey safe and secured. We have approved our health protocols. We are trying to make your experience in South Africa safe, comfortable and secured in terms of health”.
Exploring New Places
From city life to community culture and wildlife to tribal world, South Africa wraps it all. In post COVID-19 times, the travel industry has completely changed. The choice of travellers has also changed. South Africa’s tourism industry firmly believes that they can reopen sooner. She says, “Now the tourism department is looking at the new consumer insights to attract tourists for a safe journey”.
In post COVID-19 time, the travel will be totally different. There will be new travel norms. Speaking on that, she says, “In this new normal phase, tourists will find the new places with no gatherings or any secluded places”. She further added, “For this South Africa can promote the remotest places with wider spaces. For having a safe travel, we are looking after the procedures of travel insurance, quality healthcare and the reduction of the cost for visa regulations. Now the check-in and check-out in the country and the travelling here will be totally different. ”
Stay and Jungle Safari
From violent wild beasts roaming free and untamed, to the most exclusive landforms to pacify the eyes, nothing beats the thrill of an African safari. Now due to this COVID-19 to reopen this sector South Africa tourism has very constructive approach. She says, “Travel enthusiasts like hiking, trailing and other adventurous activities . We have are trying to introduce virtual safari. For employment, we are very active to support it. It is because; we want that people in South Africa will survive in tourism industry.”
South Africa’s MICE Approach
South African Tourism is dedicated to attract global MICE travellers. This country previously lured global millennials with its top-notch convention centres and business hotels. While talking about MICE travel in the country, Nkani shares India is one of the main market for MICE. COVID-19 gives the hardest hit to our MICE market. But we promise, we will protect the delegates with our health protocols. We are supporting our convention bureaus and hotels to survive and energise them to enliven in the market”.
She also explains, “We have an amazing opportunity to promote South Africa Tourism as a brand and make sure that all the norms to be implemented for safety. We can play by the rules, taking constructive and innovative steps to attract more global adventure enthusiasts and MICE travellers with a strong humane mindset. We expect that India will play a vital role in speed up MICE and tourism sector”. But we also expect international tourists from United States, Germany and China. We are promising you to offer a healthier travel with modern health support in a wider cultural environment.”