With knee-jerk travel restrictions causing havoc to the sum of nearly one billion Rand for the South African tourism industry, one passionate South African abroad is calling for South Africans around the world to make lemonade out of the sour situation by doing what they can to support local tourism on home soil. This is ‘To South Africa, With Love’.
Hayley Reichert, a London based South African, is urging her fellow diasporans to contribute to the SA Tourism sector, regardless of whether or not they had plans to travel to SA this festive season.
Her campaign simply asks those abroad to send money or e-vouchers to friends and family in SA who can spend it on experiences such as meals at restaurants, family days out, or hotel stays. For those who can afford to cover the cost of their own local tourism contribution, she urges you to invite friends along and cover their cost, perhaps book a weekend away for someone you know who’s had a rough year or pay it forward by leaving your waiter a big tip.
She also calls on recipients in SA to get in on the fun by printing photos of their loved ones abroad and taking photos and videos of themselves whilst spending the vouchers (think Rassie mask style!). Although they can’t be with you in person, video call your friends abroad to say thank you and use the hashtag #ToSAWithLove when sharing to social media.
SA Tourism supports 1.5 million jobs (directly and indirectly), according to a statement issued by the Department of Tourism on 28 November 2021. In South Africa, the tourism sector’s direct contribution to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was 130,1 billion rand in 2018 and constituted nearly 3% direct contribution to GDP.1 In 2018, the tourism sector contributed about 4,5% of total employment in South Africa.1In 2020, the volume of tourists decreased by 72,6%, from 10,2 million in 2019 to 2,8 million in 2020. With the persistent strain on the tourism sector throughout 2021, and not forgetting the damage done by the looting in July, Hayley wants to drive home the message that it is imperative for us all to play our part in preventing further poverty in the country.
Hayley is calling on SA Tourism, tourism and hospitality associations, local tourism marketing organisations, local government initiatives and celebrities to engage with this campaign. She hopes that they will be able to create ‘To South Africa, With Love’ vouchers on their websites which will enable those abroad to purchase directly from specific companies or venues to help soften the financial blow to the industry and try to keep as many people in employment and company doors open as possible this festive season.