Why South Africans should support domestic travel during level 1
I would love nothing more than to book a flight to the Maldives for a week-long escape to indulge in the finest food, watersports and copious amounts of relaxation.
Or travel back to Namibia to discover more of its hidden gems as my last visit was way too short. Or to New York to stroll through Central Park followed by a tour of the Statue of Liberty.
As tempting as these options may sound, I believe it's important to choose local travel during these tough times, especially since the pandemic and the national lockdown has closed many beloved tourism businesses and left hundreds without jobs.
As a travel writer, I have been exposed to many stunning destinations. I have grown to love South Africa in recent years. The country offers a bit of everything, from its world-class beaches, historical and cultural sites, adventure, mouthwatering cuisine and wine and wildlife.
As the South African tourism industry struggles to survive during Covid-19, booking getaways within the country may offer a lifeline to the many establishments. Of course, the industry needs to play its part in ensuring that getaways are affordable for locals.
The industry also needs to ensure that its marketing efforts are also directed at domestic travellers. For years, it's been about the international market, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
However, little or no emphasis has been placed on South Africans, which may be the reason why many local travellers choose other affordable destinations to visit. While luring international tourists is a priority to boost the sector and strongly encouraged, so is keeping local travellers' interested.
Travel shouldn't be an expensive affair. There are plenty of options to suit your budget, from camping, hotels to luxury villas. The tourism industry needs to ensure that marketing takes place and deals cater to both domestic and international interest.
Once you visit, encourage others to do the same. You can post images on social media, or you could review the establishment on TripAdvisor or the attraction's website.
These little actions will draw attention to places that other South Africans may not know about, which in turn helps the industry move towards recovery.