With the substantial relaxation restrictions being lifted, several market indicators suggest that domestic tourism is on the road to recovery.
The upcoming Easter holidays - which stretch over four days - present an ideal opportunity for South Africans to travel beyond their regional borders and connect with relatives and loved ones.
According to Gavin Lomberg, Chief Commercial Officer at RCS, despite the desire to travel, many South Africans remain cash strapped, recovering from the financial knock of the festive season while needing to deal with extra expenses around the back-to-school period.
He explains that if used responsibly, within budget and with affordability in mind, using credit for travel purposes can go a long way to smoothing the cost of a getaway.
“The Easter long weekend provides South Africans with the chance to travel further from their homes than they would on a normal weekend, making it a peak season for travelling to see relatives that they may not have connected with due to Covid-related restrictions.
“If used carefully and responsibly, credit can provide the buffer that people need to be able to afford some time away from home before the cold season kicks in.”
Lomberg provides the following advice on how to make your travel budget work for you.
“By purchasing your flight tickets on credit, which is something you can do with an RCS store card with suppliers like FlySafair and Flight Centre, you can free up more disposable income to cover travel expenses.
Before setting off, you should remember to budget for items such as dining out and shopping, but also hidden costs like airport parking, car rentals, airport meals and public transport.”
Furthermore, he states that creating a plan beforehand may seem restrictive, but the opposite is true – there is an immense amount of personal freedom to be gained from knowing your limits, working with what you can afford and avoiding post-holiday financial stress.
As Lomberg advises, your travel budget should make a distinction between expenses that will be covered by cash and expenses that will be covered by your credit facility.
He recommends using credit for specific expenses – items that you would consider to be discretionary spend rather than spending credit thoughtlessly or without having committed your spend to certain wish list purchases.
Local tourism authorities saw a significant shift from major cities to small towns during the Easter period in 2021. This shift was supported by a concerted drive by travel establishments to promote domestic travel as a cost-effective alternative to going overseas.
With many countries becoming inaccessible due to Covid-19 related travel bans, South Africans were encouraged to turn their sights inwards; to the myriad of attractions, experiences and adventures that can be found on home soil, often at a fraction of the cost.
Domestic airline, FlySafair has reported that domestic travel seat numbers are back to roughly 60% of what they were pre-Covid – an indicator that an industry once crippled by the onset of the pandemic is slowly but surely finding its feet.
Commenting on the most popular travel routes over the Easter period, Chief Marketing Officer of FlySafair, Kirby Gordon, shares the following.
“We’re expecting an upsurge in leisure travel over this period, with many people using the opportunity to connect with family and friends, and to visit key places of worship.
“We also expect that large numbers of people will travel from inland destinations to coastal towns.
“By giving South Africans the chance to buy flight tickets on credit and by implementing flexible ticket terms, we hope to see people using the opportunity to enjoy the Easter period.”