Coronavirus: A Message for Tourism
As a global family, it’s clear that, for now, we should all stay at home and not travel in order to fight the spread of Coronavirus. But, when the time comes, travel and tourism will be very important activities in the recovery process.
Across Africa and around the world, tourism is crucial. It plays a vital role in sustainable development, conservation, employment, international understanding and economic growth. For tourism businesses to survive they will need international tourists to give them hope and to help them with their recovery, so that they, in turn can support and sustain their local communities and natural environments.
In countries like Malawi and Eswatini, on average, every person employed in tourism supports around 14 people in their wider families. These jobs are essential to the future wellbeing of so many people in local communities in areas where other opportunities are often very limited and where survival looks set to become even more of a challenge. On top of the basic employment in tourism and in all the associated local suppliers to tourism, so many tourism businesses across Malawi & Eswatini run projects to support these communities and help them grow and become self-sufficient, as well as other projects that help preserve natural environments and conserve wildlife.
We are all well aware that priorities for everyone will, rightly, lie elsewhere at this point, and that the livelihoods of so many people around the world are being affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. But international tourists are being encouraged, where at all possible, to consider the long term effects their actions today can have on a country’s tourism infrastructure and the vulnerable people and environments that depend on it.
If you were already planning or had booked a trip, please try to postpone, if at all possible, rather than cancelling and requesting refunds. Removing funds and income from tourism businesses (most of whom in Malawi and Eswatini are small & medium-sized enterprises) now will simple cause them to collapse, immediately taking away the vital support they provide to those around them. Many businesses are relaxing their terms to allow much more flexibility on postponements.
And while you are stuck at home, please stay tuned to the inspirational messages from tourist boards, tourism operators and the travel media so that you can dream about, and plan your next amazing trip. We will continue to promote travel to Malawi and Eswatini during this time and to provide you with ideas and encouragement for all the fantastic adventures and experiences you can have in Malawi and Eswatini once this nightmare passes.
Please stay tuned to our website and social media channels and please spread the message whenever possible to: #StayAtHome #PostponeDontCancel #StayTuned #TravelTommorrow and be #TourismStrong