What Africa needs to do to lure tourists to the continent post-Covid-19
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Africa has been a top destination for travellers pre-Covid-19, especially for its safari, cuisine, culture and landscapes.
However, luring travellers to Africa may not be as easy post-Covid-19. With many countries, including South Africa, slow with their vaccine roll-outs, people may skip some destinations in the continent for safety reasons and opt for places ahead with their roll-out process.
Jiten Vyas, Regional Group Chief Operating Officer – Australasia, Africa, China, and CIS & Europe at VFS Global, said Africa has what it takes to become a top post-Covid-19 destination with some effort.
He told IOL Travel that the aftermath of Covid-19 lockdowns will probably cause a significant shift in perception of holiday destinations, caution around air travel, increase in preference for “safe and trusted” destinations and hygiene concerns.
He said the industry will continue to operate a digital “contactless” approach.
"Travellers are now expected to be warier of where they stay, travel, and eat, and will prefer planning their vacations down to the last detail. They won't settle for any accommodation or transport that they haven’t had the time to carefully vet.
"Businesses, therefore, need to make their offerings an exclusive experience. We expect to see an increase in solo/small group trips, well-researched and exclusive accommodation that allows you to check the health and sanitation standards beforehand, private transport (cabs, cycles, walking) or anything that helps one avoid sharing space with too many people and strangers.
"To keep a safe distance from crowds, travellers are anticipated to give such popular destinations a miss in the post-Covid travel season and rather indulge in “second-city travel” exploring a lesser-known destination in the same destination.
“This kind of travel not only helps reduce over-tourism and environmental impact but will also mean travellers can explore without coming into contact with too many people," he said.
With Africa home to some stunning towns within popular tourist attractions, the tourism industry can play towards the strengths.
Vyas said digitalise travel planning is also vital to lure travellers. He said the industry needed to be at the "cusp of evolution towards end-to-end digital solutions."
He offered a few suggestions: "Online travel planners, ‘doorstep’ visa services, eVisa services, courier for passport return, self-check-in kiosks at airports will now become a common sight.
"Technology is set to become the biggest enabler for companies in the post-Covid world to ensure an enhanced customer experience. Companies should explore solutions that allow travellers to maintain social distancing norms as much as possible and at the same time, get a high level of service and customer experience."