Travellers planning their trip to South Africa need to show a PCR test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa.
Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head - MEISEA, South African Tourism
Are you visiting South Africa for the first time? Or wondering is South Africa safe for tourists or what is the best time to visit South Africa? Look no further! An industry veteran of 20 plus years in the global tourism & hospitality arena with over three years of dedicated experience with South African Tourism, Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISEA, South African Tourism, has in-depth expertise of national government and local government positioning as well as familiarity with legislations, strategies and policies pertaining to the travel & tourism sectors.
Nkani’s in-depth knowledge and understanding of South Africa’s stunning landscape coupled with its destination packaging had paved the way for Dutch arrivals to South Africa exceeding targets for three consecutive years spanning 2003 to 2006.
In this interaction with Swapna Raghu Sanand, Neliswa Nkani told The Financial Express Online, “Attractive currency exchange rates and competitive pricing makes South Africa a lucrative, value for money, long haul destination. There are alluring options for both high end luxury planners and those on a budget.”
Furthermore, she highlighted South Africa’s internationally benchmarked bio-safety systems in place at all private game lodges and government-owned national parks as well as across accommodation facilities. Notably, travellers planning their trip to South Africa need to show a PCR test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa.
What makes South Africa a must-visit destination for Indians from a travel and hospitality perspective?
The Rainbow Nation of South Africa – with its 3000+ unique adventure offerings, captivating wildlife, beautiful golden coastal beaches, vibrant nightlife, diverse culture, warm hospitality, rich heritage and culinary treats, promises travellers an immersive, memorable experience at every turn.
The destination has a plethora of world-class facilities, excellent infrastructure and distinctive attractions, along with internationally benchmarked health & safety standards; it also has surroundings that naturally promote social distancing – this makes it appealing to leisure, business & MICE travellers.
Attractive currency exchange rates and competitive pricing makes South Africa a lucrative, value for money long-haul destination. There are alluring experience options for both – the high-end luxury planner and those on a budget.
South Africa also offers a gamut of sustainable product offerings and ecotourism experiences, like cycling tours, nature safaris, conservation projects and rural experiences, along with some of the most beautiful self-drive routes in the world.
For travellers seeking offbeat destinations with good connectivity and a large number of activities within confined areas, the destination has opened up and heavily invested in their picturesque new regions, including the stunning and relatively unexplored Port Elizabeth, Robertson, West Coast, Drakensberg and Panorama Route.
What are the recent initiatives taken by South Africa to revive global tourism and measures to ensure safety protocols are not compromised?
In South Africa, we remain committed to the safety and health of our visitors.
There are internationally benchmarked bio-safety systems spanning all private game lodges, government-owned national parks, shopping hubs, restaurants and accommodation facilities. These safety initiatives include fewer number of tourists in a safari vehicle to promote social distancing, digital menus, touchless parking, e-payment systems, hand-sanitization and disinfection stations, individually sanitized and packed takeaways / room service etc.
Travellers can also expect precautionary and sanitation measures at various other transit touch points including international and domestic airports, and car rentals.
What category of global travellers (leisure, adventure, wildlife, corporate, business) are you expecting as you strategize on packages for tourists’ needs?
Experience-seeking millennials, HNIs and the family-oriented middle-class segments are anticipated to be the driving force behind leisure travel recovery, while MICE travel can be expected to recover early next year albeit with smaller group sizes. These travellers are now actively seeking safety assurance and good deals – and the competitive pricing edge that South Africa has over most other long-haul international destinations, will go a long way in aiding travel conversions.
We are aware of the effect the pandemic has on the global economy, and have been repackaging accordingly, with the intent to offer consumers’ excellent deals and discounts. Safety measures are transparent and well-communicated, and have been factored into overall packages, so that there is no surprise or extra-cost to travellers.
For Indian travellers, which are the must-visit South African tourist destinations that you recommend?
We are looking at introducing newer, customized experiences, products and itineraries for the rising FIT traveller segment. We anticipate that South Africa’s new regions and geographies will be a hit with Indian travellers post-Covid.
For the next couple of months, travellers can enter through cities that have restored international connectivity, so either through the Mother City – Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban, and use these cities as a gateway to the rest of these picturesque new regions, including the stunning and relatively unexplored Port Elizabeth, Robertson, West Coast, Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal, Panorama Route (Mpumalanga) and Garden Route.
Are all national parks open for global tourists and what checks are currently being done?
All national parks are open for international and domestic tourists.
The South African safari is an adventure in itself, and has always been immensely popular with tourists from across the globe. Now the appeal of a safari holiday has increased given its natural ability to enable social distancing. Concrete jungles offer complete seclusion, fresh air, and the beauty of the wilderness bring forth a perfect social distancing experience. Travel consultants are now helping couples, families and small groups plan private and safe vacations to luxury game lodges.
With the natural world as its stage, the essence of a safari has not changed. However, guests will experience enhanced sanitization policies, regular temperature checks for guests and staff, smaller camps and smaller game drive groups to ensure social distancing is maintained even in the safari vehicle.