Last week, The Blue Train took on its first leisure travel maiden voyage from Pretoria to Cape Town. The two-night, three-day luxury rail experience was the first leisure travel journey since interprovincial travel was permitted during this period of lockdown. The maiden voyage came after months of preparation and readiness across all parts of The Blue Train’s operations – with the safety of guests in mind.
Speaking on this maiden voyage, The Blue Train Executive Manager, Vincent Monyake said, “Months of refurbishments and preparations paid off beautifully. The leisure travel maiden voyage was successful, and all guests were thoroughly impressed with our level of readiness to operate in this COVID era. There were no incidents on board, and all guests complied with the regulations and protocols put in place.”
The safety and hygiene protocols put in place ensure that there is adherence to the highest level of hygiene to ensure the safety of all guests and the crew. These strict protocols are in line with industry standards and the measures set by World Health Organisation and the Department of Tourism.
‘At the top of our list was the preparation for travel in a COVID-19 era, making sure that we take care of our guests’ anxieties around travel during a pandemic. It was of paramount importance that we at The Blue Train understand that heightened safety and hygiene standards have become passport, especially in the tourism sector,’ added Lethabo Vilakazi, Risk and Safety Officer at The Blue Train.
The Blue Train recently announced a re-opening special to encourage travellers to experience the country through the lens of luxury rail. Bookings to date reflect an above average occupancy, the majority being from domestic travellers.
Monyake concluded, “With the President’s recent announcement regarding international travel, we anticipate that occupancies will increase dramatically. The ripple effect of our success goes beyond our crew and suppliers. The Blue Train is a strategic tourism player whose use is always connected with other tourism players, be it air travel, accommodation, the food and beverage sector and other tourism experiences. The relief that we are experiencing now that we have fully operate again will go a long way in helping to resuscitate the hard-hit sector and grow our economy.”