Despite the economic downturn due to the pandemic, experts predict a surge in travel bookings this year and beyond 2021. Picture: Taryn Elliott/Pexels
Despite the economic downturn due to the pandemic, experts predict a surge in travel bookings this year and beyond 2021. Picture: Taryn Elliott/Pexels

Take travel revenge on Covid-19

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published May 11, 2021

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Travellers are getting “revenge” on Covid-19 and the impact it had on the travel industry in 2020.

With governments across the world implementing vaccination rollouts for their citizens, many destinations are now ready to reopen the travel sector and safely welcome visitors.

Despite the economic downturn due to the pandemic, experts predict a surge in travel bookings this year and beyond 2021. They believe that people will make up for lost time and plan adventures wherever countries would welcome them. This phenomenon is known as “revenge travel”.

The concept is similar to revenge spending, which originated during the Cultural Revolution in China in the early 1980s and saw a rise in consumer demand once shops reopened.

Mike Kennedy, the co-founder of the travel marketplace Koala, told HuffPost that revenge travel is “essentially a slingshot back into the world”. He said: “It’s a visceral response to pent-up travel demand”.

Ticket to South Africa

South Africa is among the top trending destinations for revenge travel in 2021, according to a recent Tourlane survey.

The survey was completed in October 2020 among 18 to 65-year-olds to determine the state of travel and trends for 2021 using a community survey distributed via email, social media and a pop-up. The USA ranked first place, followed by South Africa and Canada.

Head of sales at Tourlane, Helen Scheepers, said South Africa offered a range of outdoor activities.

“With so many participants rating travel as a top priority for 2021, we’re excited for the boom in revenge travel to destinations like South Africa that’s on the horizon,” said Scheepers.

Travel commentator and owner of PR company Urban Espresso, Gabbi Brondani Rego, said it was no surprise that South Africa was high on people’s revenge travel lists.

“We have some of the most spectacular landscapes and spaces that cater for all travel types and preferences. Travellers are spoilt for choice as the country offers everything from beach retreats to bush breaks.

“Let's not forget the open spaces, fresh outdoors and places that provide ample opportunity to social distance,” she said.

Rego said South Africa is ready to welcome travellers as the industry is practising global Covid-19 health and safety measures.

“They have been welcoming locals safely for eight months, which should send a strong message to international travellers that when the world’s borders open to South Africa again, they will be in safe hands on their revenge travel trip to this country.

“People have a new perspective on life after the pandemic. There’s an urge for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. That means more family trips, family reunions, splurging on girlfriend getaways and over-the-top romantic couples’ trips. South Africa does tick many of these boxes and caters for all types of travellers,” she added.

Helen Untiedt, the co-founder and curator of Perfect Hideaways, said there have already been inquiries from the international market, including travellers from the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Italy, France and India.

“We have had our busiest year since the pandemic, especially with the demand for local travel. South

African are exploring their backyard, and the world is seeing that the country is open for travel.

“We’ve seen interest from international travellers, although many are sceptical to book holidays in advance due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. However, once South Africa moves swiftly with their vaccination rollout, travellers will be more confident to visit,” she said.

Untiedt said the South African industry is positive about future travel. However, they’re nervous about a possible third wave.

“We will wait and see what happens within the next two months, but we are optimistic that the industry will get back to pre-Covid levels by the end of the year,” she said.

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