Mbabane: Tourism has been among the hardest hit of all sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. No country in the world has not been unaffected. The restrictions on travel and enforcement of lockdown regulations and tourism industry closing has led to a drop in business, which in turn have led to economic loss and the loss of jobs.
The world tourism organization reported that women, youth, and workers in the informal economy are the most at risk from tourism sector job losses and business closures due to the pandemic. At the same time, the destinations most reliant on tourism for jobs and economic growth are likely to be the hardest hit.
Domestic tourism has thus been identified as key to reviving the tourism sector during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. In the drive for domestic tourism together the tourism month Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) in Eswatini has rolled out campaigns which are aimed at encouraging emaSwati to visit and explore the country.
The campaigns are aimed at boosting domestic tourism and comes with discounted prices with accommodation up to 50 percent, activities at 30 percent as well as on meals.
According to the chief executive officer of Eswatini Tourism Authority, domestic tourism will be the main focus to revive the tourism industry in Eswatini, hence rolling out of the domestic tourism campaigns.
She said the campaigns will be aimed at instilling the culture of travelling among emaSwati. This campaigns and discounts will make emaSwati to visit more places and explore Eswatini.
The campaign also offers a number of holiday packages, deals that have been made in partnership with Eswatini Hotels association to deliver the fun, easy, accessible and affordable holidays.
As outlined in the Strategy Road Map 2018 – 2023, The Government of Eswatini has declared Tourism as one of the five pillars to drive economic growth over the next five years ending 2023.
Domestic tourism has been highlighted as an essential contributor to the growth of the tourism sector and provides a foundation for sustainable tourism growth and development. This is especially the case in the prevailing times of global uncertainty.
According to the Domestic Tourism Survey Report of 2019, increased tourism participation of the local market is envisioned to result in a smoothened seasonality pattern in tourism related visitations which will translate to creation and sustenance of all year round jobs while boosting the economy.
The Domestic Tourism Report of 2019 provides insights on the demographics, travel choices, accommodation and attraction preferences and experiences of locals in their engagement with the local product.
The survey provided data on the status of the domestic visitor demands and inform planning of tourism product development and marketing strategies by Eswatini Tourism Authority and industry players. Specifically, the domestic tourism survey reports reinforces efforts to achieve the goal of increased geographic spread, increased length of overnight stay and increased tourism receipts in the tourism sector.