Research cites the severity of the impact of COVID-19 on tourism businesses
University of Mpumalanga Tourism Lecturer Dr Julia Giddy and Professor Jayne Rogerson from the University of Johannesburg recently conducted a study to examine tourism enterprise adaptation in South Africa’s nature tourism destinations.
The study, conducted in Bushbuckridge, suggests that tourism in that region has been severely impacted by COVID-19. In the Bushbuckridge area, the debilitating impact of the pandemic was exacerbated by the fact that most businesses are dominated by international tourists rather than the domestic market.
One of the most significant problems mentioned by the majority of businesses was the travel ban because of the area’s orientation towards the high-end international tourist market.
Most business owners said their adaptation strategies included reducing prices, staff reductions, and general business downsizing. The majority of respondents cited downsizing related to staffing. Several had to cut major portions of their staff, while many others have staff operating on part-time salaries.
The research revealed that adaptation to the crisis has been challenging because of the financial impacts experienced by these enterprises in the wake of minimal government support.
The perspectives of domestic leisure tourists in South Africa would assist in gaining a better understanding of the potential for domestic tourism to maintain the local tourism economy as the pandemic persists.