Ubuntu spirit flows in Africa’s veins. It celebrates those two essential human virtues, compassion and humanity. In the face of an unprecedented global pandemic, never have these two points been more important to staying safe- and helping others stay safe too. While the post-COVID-19 era may leave travel and tourism globally looking a little different from what we were used to, that same ubuntu spirit in South Africa has ensured safety and ingenuity are already thriving. The country’s dedicated to keeping you safe, while still allowing you to enjoy the beauties of this exceptional land. ‘T-day’… the day the government allows the tourism industry and our international borders to reopen to foreign visitors fully…is close at hand, and Buffelsdrift Game Lodge- along with the rest of South Africa- is ready and waiting to welcome you home.
South Africa- Africa’s thriving tourism destination
South Africa and tourism go hand in hand. There’s possibly no other country in the world as perfect to experience everything you could want- and more- all in one place. This is the land of vineyards and gardens, warm beaches and rolling veldt. Contrasts and new experiences lie at every turn. Here you can surf the waves, watch the Big 5 at play, or have a sit-down meal at a world-class restaurant…almost all in the same day! An hour or so’s drive will take you from the coast to the deepest bush. Send your loved ones an update from a world-class game lodge, then spend the day lost in the romance of the bush and it’s magical creatures without giving technology a second glance. It’s even seen as one of the best destinations for shopping, with most foreign visitors loving the favourable exchange rate and the easy access to high-end brands and urban lifestyle luxuries alongside memory-making wildlife experiences.
2019 saw almost 11 million tourists flood through our borders. 2.8% of our GDP (directly), and a further 8.2% indirectly, is derived from tourism activities, and close to 15% of those employed in SA are employed directly or indirectly by the tourism and hospitality sectors. That’s close to 1 in 10 people who work in travel in SA!
COVID_19 and the impact on tourism
With that in mind, it’s no real surprise that the Coronavirus-linked economic shutdowns have had a huge impact on local tourism. International travellers make up about 50% of the visitors we receive in the industry, and with widespread bans on international travel that’s been a source of visitors (and income) many tourism-related businesses have lost.
Needless to say, these bans have had a huge impact on the hospitality and tourism industries, even as we salute the President for trying to do the best to protect the most vulnerable during this trying- and globally unprecedented- time.
But let’s not dwell on the difficulties.
Instead, let’s praise a country which has come together to protect the medically vulnerable yet find smart ways to keep the economy ticking over. That has rolled out mass access to sanitisers at every shop door and embraced mask-wearing to keep each other safe. Where even cultures used to keeping little personal space as a sign of trust have adapted to social distancing for the good of us all.
These fast and ingenuitive adaptations to the post-Corona landscape have enabled economic activity to restart in South Africa even as the rest of the world grapples unsatisfactorily with these issues. While the President has chosen to take a conservative approach, reopening sectors slowly, the fact is that South Africans are ready to work, and the ubuntu spirit is clear in the way we’re all here to help each other stay safe and COVID-19 free.
Even if the hoped-for vaccine is slow to roll out globally, this same dedication to keeping people safe is a key part of why South Africa is poised to become an ideal post-lockdown travel destination. Combined with wide-open spaces, plenty of fresh air and bright sunshine, low-density tourism activities and fewer crowds then you may be used to when travelling, as well as remote game lodges and intimate safaris being huge drawcards, it’s a recipe for safe and healthy travels.