Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Play your part in domestic tourism’s recovery this holiday

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Play your part in domestic tourism’s recovery this holiday

Domestic tourism remains key to the resilience of the South African tourism sector. Following the recent discovery of the Omicron variant, global travel bans have left the sector in desperate need of a lifeline, and local travellers could be just the shot in the arm that it needs this festive season. 

Last years summer was a brutal one for the tourism industry, as the country experienced tightened lockdown restrictions amid a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

This summer, with the reality of a fourth wave now underway, comparatively looser lockdown restrictions will still see many holidaymakers looking for safe and accessible travel and tourism options – with road trips and outdoor pursuits high on their holiday bucket lists.

South African Tourism’s Road to Recovery Volume 3 report published in July 2021 shows that international arrivals are recovering the slowest, with priority markets such as the USA and India still 86% lower than pre-COVID-19 levels.

It is domestic road movement that is said to be driving the tourism sector’s recovery, along with spend on food services, both of which are closest to reaching pre-pandemic levels.

Caravanning and camping breaks have also increased significantly and are close to 2019 levels.

However, says the report, “the much slower recovery of accommodation and domestic air travel suggests either a hesitancy to participate in what could be perceived as more risky activities, as well as a reprioritisation of spending due to less disposable income or a shift in preferences.”

Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA), which produces the Dunlop, Sumitomo and Falken tyre brands, has been an outspoken proponent of the need for South Africans to play their part in boosting the country’s tourism sector. Since the sector first began to reopen in the latter part of 2020, the tyre manufacturing company has been encouraging South Africans to get back out to explore all that the country has to offer – often just a short drive away – through initiatives such as the Let’s Take the Road, Again campaign, followed by various tourism focused expeditions including the award-winning Grandtrek Uncharted journey.

CEO Lubin Ozoux says SRSA is aware of the role it plays, both in South Africa as a big business and in keeping people safe on our roads.

“It’s been another uncertain year, from the ongoing pandemic and lockdown, to civil unrest, looting and load shedding. It is now critical that we all support and drive South Africa forward. One important way we can do that is by supporting local tourism, because it has the power to boost our economy and stimulate job creation,” he urges.

As a tyre manufacturer, encouraging responsible road travel and road safety are a big focus for SRSA.

“Whether you are having a staycation, doing a day trip somewhere close to home, or taking a cue from Dunlop’s year-end campaign and heading off on #TheBigDrive to a game park or reserve, road trips are a solid bet. They make it easier to stay safe in terms of social distancing and limiting contact with others outside of your immediate bubble.”

He also encourages holidaymakers to heed the Dunlop message of staying #SaferthanSafe.

 Tyre safety becomes even more important during South Africa’s busiest travelling period, with compromised tyres playing a leading role in the country’s road deaths, which are among the highest in the world. A total of 1,448 people died on our roads in 1,210 fatal crashes over the 2020/2021 festive season. Knowing how to ensure your tyres are safe and roadworthy is, therefore, key. Add to this the need to stay safe from infection – so wear your masks while out and about, take along your hand sanitisers, keep your immune system healthy and avoid large gatherings while on holiday,” he says.

“Whether it’s a trip to the coast, the mountains or on safari, we want to spread the message. Let’s all play our part to boost our country’s domestic tourism sector, while doing so safely and responsibly this holiday,” says Ozoux. 

Visit www.dunloptyres.co.za to kickstart your summer escape and find loads of road trip ideas and tyre safety tips with Dunlop’s #TheBigDrive summer year-end promotion. From 22 November to 31 December 2021, customers who buy any 4 Dunlop passenger car, SUV, 4x4 or light truck tyres will receive a free pair of compact binoculars and discounted bookings with SANParks and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. You can also try your hand at #TheBigDrive game at www.dunloptyres.co.za, which drops you into South Africa’s wild places using Google Street View, to guess where you are! The closer your pin is to the correct location each time, the more you score over 5 rounds. The player with the highest overall score on the leader board by 31 December 2021 will win #TheBigDrive experience valued at up to R50 000, to enjoy at the SANParks national park closest to them. This prize may not be transferred or substituted.