It has been almost a month since we celebrated the start of the new year and said goodbye to the old one. We experienced what was essentially Covid-19 2.0, with the third wave being one of the worst to date. We are optimistic that things will get better over time, and that the Omicron variant signals the end of the pandemic soon.
Enough with the sombre talk! With lockdowns all over the world, nature has been given space to heal from human use. Several tourism establishments, attractions and accommodation facilities have taken the time to renovate, train staff on customer service, and make some much needed improvements. The best thing about the industry is that it is resilient, steadfast, and has a unique ability to reinvent itself constantly.
Looking forward, Southern Africa is eager to have you back! The recent news that the EU, UK, and US have lifted their travel bans to Southern Africa has given us new hope for the future of our industry. Let’s all have a glimpse into the future, and look at travel (to Africa) in 2022:
With the travel bans of the last few months and lockdowns all over the world, travellers will be relieved to visit the region and find some space to breathe, while taking in beautiful, unspoiled landscapes.
We can expect a surge in family trips, as the effects of the various waves of the virus have resulted in many families being away from each other, and not having seen one another for the past two years. After spending so much time apart, families will want to enjoy new experiences together. As stated by (Mahlatini, 2022), “Safaris are ideal for these long-awaited reunion trips, offering the right balance of activities and relaxation time to fully reconnect in life-affirming surroundings.”
Furthermore, the time off has afforded many suppliers with the opportunity to renovate and revitalise their service offerings. Canoeing, Segway tours, horseback safaris, photographic hides, and hot air ballooning will see a surge in popularity, as people move from less traditional travel to more adventurous activities, to give them the adrenaline and excitement they have been missing for two years.
Keeping with the trend of family, travellers to the continent will be more likely to immerse themselves in community related activities. Learning about indigenous cultures, visiting historical and cultural sites, and staying at living villages are some of the activities which are likely to become even more popular. Tourists will want to experience a sense of unity and connection after spending so much time away from people.
The final trend we’re expecting to see is regenerative travel. This is centred around conservation and travelling to those places that need it the most. Many countries in Africa rely heavily on the tourism industry for the growth of their economies, and we can expect a lot more luxury safaris where remote and pristine landscapes draw tourists to the wholesome and personalized services offered. (Mahlatini, 2022)
Looking ahead, the tourism industry is guaranteed to grow, innovate, and rejuvenate. The importance of travel lies in the fact that it unites, educates, and creates a space for new ideas and perspectives to take the forefront and reimagine the global economy. We look forward to everything this year will throw at us, because we know that we will come out even stronger at the end.
Mahlatini. (2022, January). Travel Trends 2022. Retrieved from Mahlatini Website: https://www.mahlatini.com/travel-trends/