University of Mpumalanga Tourism Lecturer Dr Julia Giddy and Professor Jayne Rogerson from the University of Johannesburg recently conducted a study to examine tourism enterprise adaptation in South Africa’s nature tourism destinations.
The study, conducted in Bushbuckridge, suggests that tourism in that region has been severely impacted by COVID-19. In the Bushbuckridge area, the debilitating impact of the pandemic was exacerbated by the fact that most businesses are dominated by international tourists rather than the domestic market.
One of the most significant problems mentioned by the majority of businesses was the travel ban because of the area’s orientation towards the high-end international tourist market.
Most business owners said their adaptation strategies included reducing prices, staff reductions, and general business downsizing.
The majority of respondents cited downsizing related to staffing. Several had to cut major portions of their staff, while many others have staff operating on part-time salaries.
The research revealed that adaptation to the crisis has been challenging because of the financial impacts experienced by these enterprises in the wake of minimal government support.
The perspectives of domestic leisure tourists in South Africa would assist in gaining a better understanding of the potential for domestic tourism to maintain the local tourism economy as the pandemic persists.
Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) spokesperson Kholofelo Nkambule shared the same sentiment with Grimbeek as she said MTPA has partnered with the department of health to encourage people to vaccinate to revive the struggling tourism industry.
She said during their tourism campaign that was launched last month the health department set up vaccination sites in which people was vaccinated.
“Since we started our tourism campaign to encourage people to travel, we were also encouraging people to vaccinate.
We are now done with the tourism month will be continuing with these campaigns until the festive season and beyond. The department of health officials is always with us wherever we go to get people vaccinated,” said Nkambule.
Carol Nake, the owner of Tinyiko Kruger Lodge based in Marloth Park in Nkomazi said:
“From January last we have seen a serious cancellation of bookings and the business started to decline. Most of my clients are from Germany, Netherland and other overseas countries, so the pandemic affected my business in a way that I had to cut my staff by 50 per cent.
I already started to encourage people to vaccinate in my community of Nkomazi, Mpumalanga because we need to create a situation that will allow international tourists to feel safe when visitin
This Covid 19 awareness article was produced with the Journalists for Human Rights support.