South African carrier FlySafair's bold new proposal to Parliament may see South Africans enjoy public holidays over the weekend.
FlySafair proposal seeks to amend the execution of South Africa’s Public Holidays Act. They want public holidays that fall in the middle of the week moved to either a Friday or Monday.
The airline said the day of observance would then "serve to recognise the historical significance of these days" should they fall on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
CEO of FlySafair Elmar Conradie said if the proposal is accepted, it could bring swift recovery for the travel and tourism industry and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
The airline revealed that the proposal has been tabled with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa for review.
"If well-received by the body, FlySafair hopes this will begin the process of lobbying the Department of Tourism to introduce the amendment to parliament.
“Our intention is in no way to diminish the importance of these historical days. Our aim would be to look at how the time off from work can be better used to benefit the tourism industry and encourage South Africans to travel again," said Conradie.
He believes the proposal presents the government with a "novel idea to stimulate economic growth and recovery for the country as a whole.”
Long weekend holiday vibes
Most travellers book holidays to maximise on public holidays that fall on either Monday or Friday. The recent Heritage long weekend saw many travellers plan breaks around the country.
According to Cheapflights data, there was a surge in week-on-week searches for flights by about 134% for the Heritage Day long weekend.
FlySafair found a significant increase in bookings when a public holiday falls on either a Monday or Friday.
"There is a more than 20% increase in average passengers flown over a three-day weekend in comparison to lone public holidays (those that fall mid-week).
“2020 was the year that travel was lost, and we’re doing everything we can to recover. But with this small change in public holiday execution, there’s a chance we could encourage South Africans to travel in their own backyards again," he added.