After all the desperate pleas to government to save the hospitality industry, the drop to level 2 lockdown and the opening up of our resorts to national travelers almost seems something of a let-down.
But we know that the tourism sector with its associated, travel, hospitality and restaurant businesses has been devastated economically by the Covid-19 pandemic and resultant national lockdowns. The world as those of us who are part of the all- important tourism industry supply chain knew it simply came to a grinding halt and we were left with nothing but frustration and uncertainty for months on end.
At S & A Marketing, we were initially as dazed as many of our clients in the hospitality sector as we watched our business struggle alongside theirs. Many of our clients are no longer with us but remain much loved friends and we look forward to welcoming everyone back as things in this sector of the economy begin to normalize.
Meanwhile, we are staying in touch and doing what we do best – helping to celebrate the return of domestic tourism and the wonderful tourism destinations countrywide that we and our families have come to know and love.
As we all know, the majority of our visitors during 2020 will be locals. International travel remains a no-no and, given that we are way behind many of our major international markets when it comes to the spread of the Corona virus, chances are that many will not be feeling too eager to pack for Africa just yet.
However, by way of encouragement, we’ve dug up a few stats to reassure you that all is not lost and that there are huge opportunities to be had when it comes to domestic tourism.
It seems that the latest figures date back to 2018 when, according to by the World Travel & Tourism Council, SA’s tourism sector accounted for 2.8% to GDP and contributed R139 billion to national coffers. This will have grown during 2019.
An estimated 44 percent of the tourism spend came from international travellers and 56 percent from domestic travel. So, even before latest developments, it made simple good sense to market to the local market which, according to StatsSA was growing at a far higher rate than international tourism anyway.
According to Statistics South Africa, tourist accommodation information for the month of December 2019 generated total income of over R4,7 billion with restaurant and bar sales estimated to be around R734 million.
Now, instead of dwelling on what we have lost during 2020, we need to realise that there are still opportunities out there – albeit closer to home than many of us would have thought.
All of us might need to shift our thinking when it comes to marketing to tourists over the next year. We need to realize that it has and will continue to be a long and difficult road. But we also need to grasp the fact that South Africans are likely to travel locally this year both to save money and for safety reasons – and realize that most South Africans haven’t even begun to explore their own land yet.
Most of all, whether we are travelers or service providers in this still exciting sector, we need to embrace the fact that South Africans are creative, innovative, and hardworking. We persevere and are ready to bounce back with gusto.
Be proud that this sector stood together to push for relief and even survival during tough times. We need to keep that spirit of tourism Ubuntu alive and continue to work together for the benefit of all.
Remember that you can create partnerships. Add a food experience to a special tour and help neighbouring businesses grow and build their tourism offering together. Brainstorm something unique that you can develop quickly and tap into new target markets. Now is the time for the tours and activity sector to work together, creating new partnerships and opportunities.
Don’t let this crisis define your business. Stick to it and you will probably find your business will come out the other end stronger than ever.
Most importantly of all, keep communicating. Whatever you do, don’t stop marketing your business. Right now, cutting through the clutter in lives dulled by lockdown is more important than ever. Keep that spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship alive.
Join with us and investigate new and different platforms to get word about your unique offering to domestic travelers. True, most are feeling the pinch and probably expect more bang for their bucks – but they are also desperate to escape the confines of their homes and enjoy the beautiful outdoors this summer.
While you begin dreaming up packages that are more tailored to the needs of local travelers, we’ll be thinking up ways for you to capture their attention and help them end the year on a more optimistic note. We hope that the establishment that they choose for their much anticipated getaway is yours….
If you’d like to contact S&A Marketing about a plan to market your business during this recovery phase, give us a call on 031 3031788 or email email@example.com . Then prep those rooms, fluff up those pillows, chill those beverages and tweak those menus to appeal to the people that you know best!