Covid-19: Here's why SA should implement travel bubbles
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way people travel or lack thereof. With thousands of travellers facing serious FOMO after being stuck at home for more than two months, travel bubbles may be what the South African tourism industry needs during these tough times.
For those who are unfamiliar with travel bubbles, here's what it entails.
According to Insights IAS, travel bubbles allow people from parts of a country or connecting countries to travel. It states that travel bubbles will help kickstart sectors such as travel and tourism.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane foresaw that domestic tourism season will likely only start in December and international by January 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
WATCH: What are travel bubbles and why are people talking about it?
And, while leisure travel is not permitted, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that business travel will be phased in gradually under level 3 regulations. The Department of Home Affairs also revealed that South Africans who work and study abroad could return to the countries where they are based from June 1, 2020.
According to NBC News, many international countries are using "travel bubbles" to save post-lockdown tourist season.
For example, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia have already created a "Baltic travel bubble," to allow its citizens to travel among the three states without the stress of a 14-day quarantine that has been a criterion for travellers during the pandemic.
Other destinations like Greece, Cyprus and Israel are dabbling with the idea to allow its citizens to travel freely between the three countries.
For South Africa, the situation may be tricky with the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country. However, with President Ramaphosa easing certain restrictions, travel bubbles should be considered by the government.
Not only will it encourage local travel, but travel businesses like hotels, B&Bs, tour operators and other establishments can open for locals. The government in time can also allow travel to neighbouring African countries that have minimal or no coronavirus cases.
Jennifer Morris, the owner of Travel Savvy, said travel bubbles can work as long as people adhere to social distancing protocols and airlines modify their systems to keep people safe.
"As South Africans, we have to take on the mantle of civic-mindedness and commit to keeping ourselves and everyone else as safe as possible from the virus. This means adapting our behaviour in many ways, especially when travelling," she said.