How your romantic getaway can boost domestic travel

It offers us some welcome relief to turn our heads to romance amid such trying times. Let’s face it enough has been said about the issues facing not only the tourist industry but the many businesses who are so restricted in their business activities.

Many people, bitten by the love bug last year who planned a wedding for the end of the year or early this year, may have postponed their plans but many couples, not wanting to wait, just had more subdued affairs and even virtual weddings were seen as a novel new way to tie the knot.

Nothing more romantic than a getaway for two

There is absolutely nothing stopping us from still taking that honeymoon we dreamed about – or just a romantic weekend getaway in this month of romance, after all we have had to endure this year.

I hear many couples are saying they will wait until they can enjoy their alcoholic bubbly and wine again, but to that I say there’s no better time to not be drinking than at the beginning of the year when we are all in need of some respite after the year-end over indulgences – and romance should be about the intoxication of love – not alcohol!

Of course, I say that very much tongue in cheek, but we are near the end of the alcohol prohibition and even if you are looking at a March or Easter postponement – do book now. I think after the long ‘stay home’ restrictions we have had to endure again now, this Easter is going to be a bumper one for local tourism and you will need to book early to get into many of the favourite resorts.

The positive knock-on effects of one romantic getaway

I have spoken many times about the vital importance of getting tourism back on its feet by initially boosting domestic tourism. One romantic getaway can do so much to boost so many facets of the local industry. Consider some of these aspects…

A getaway to a game lodge has always been a favourite choice for honeymooners. What can be more romantic than snuggling together in an open-topped 4×4 and witnessing the marvels of the African bushveld and its incredible inhabitants, followed by a scrumptious dinner for 2 in a fire lit boma?

The bonus right now is that you would have helped the booking agents who assisted you to arrange the perfect place for you, the local lodge, many of which have faced a long dry season and most importantly you are putting the local staff back to work.

These people are often the sole breadwinners of the surrounding communities who rely entirely on the tourism industry to support their own micro tourism and craft industries. Finally, but of great importance, is that you are assisting to support the conservation initiatives so vital to the wellbeing of one of our greatest assets – our wildlife.

Had you flown on the way to your destination you have probably supported the taxi industry, the airports and airlines, hospitality contributors like restaurants, shops and small airport vendors.

Your unforgettable experience has made a difference

As is often the case, what I’m trying to say was so well expressed by the Father of our nation – the late President Mandela when he said: “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

Right now taking that romantic getaway or that well-deserved family holiday is not only assisting us to relieve the stress we have all had to endure, but we can make a difference – and it’s on just one holiday at a time that we will rebuild South Africa’s tourism industry.

LIDIA FOLLI

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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