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Will the Youth be a Mechanism for Opening our Doors Sooner? We think Yes


Thanks to one of our members – @erin-cusack Erin Cusack from Tourism Update – for this piece.

We have been discussing this for some time now and would love to know your thoughts…

Here’s to the Brave One’s


[ As seen on Tourism Update – 21 July 2020 – Erin Cusack ]

Youth tourism could be one of the first sub-sectors to recover once travel restrictions are lifted, but this is dependent on the sector receiving support.

“We are expecting the youth to be the first ones to travel,” said SATSA Youth Chapter Vice-Chair, Tim Louw. (As on Mzansi Champs @timlouw) “While older generations may be more cautious about travel, the youth, who are less impacted by the virus, feel they are at a lower risk of being majorly impacted by it.”

Louw believes reopening youth tourism could be the first step to restarting the whole industry. “In terms of operating within a COVID-19 world, youth tourism could be a safety net for the industry. We are lower risk, so let us take the risk.”

He advocated for youth tourism to reopen soon, as this sub-sector – which supports vital parts of the economy – is facing massive financial difficulties. This was highlighted by a survey conducted with 58 local youth tourism businesses.

Of the 58 companies polled, 20 rely entirely on international markets, including the US, the UK, Germany and Brazil, according to Louw.

The survey further highlighted that, as youth tourism businesses tended to have higher numbers of employees, more livelihoods were at stake as travel restrictions continued. “Many of those employed in youth tourism are young people and women,” said Louw, adding that youth tourism supported SATSA’s three-pronged approach to tourism recovery, the third of which focuses on employment of women and youth.

This focus is important to ensure that the plight currently faced by the tourism industry is heard by government, as explained during a recent Tourism Business Council of South Africa webinar.

“Government’s narrative and focus are around inclusive growth of the economy and that is very heavily focused on women and the youth. We know in the tourism and travel industry that about 70% of people who are employed in this industry are women, and 60% are youth,” said SATSA Communications Manager, Natalia Rosa.

Louw confirmed that at his own accommodation establishment, 10 of his 13 employees were women. “Between the 58 companies polled, 1 079 people are employed and a significant number of those are youths and women.”

Youth tourism has been playing an active role in overall recovery of the tourism sector. “We have been critically involved in the development of health and safety standards,” said Louw, referring to protocols developed in collaboration with SATSA and other stakeholders. “Youth tourism products would be held to these same standards should we be allowed to reopen.”

The survey results showed that about 60% of businesses were certain that they would be forced to close before February 2021 should conditions not change.

“Setting a date for reopening is a great place to start, because it allows us to start marketing two months in advance. This will bring in cash flow and allow us to bring back employees.” Louw emphasised that should borders reopen this year, the industry would likely only start recovering at the end of next year’s peak season.



Will the Youth be a Mechanism for Opening our Doors Sooner?

#iamtourism #millionsintourism #wearetourism #youthtravel #iamyouthtravel #endlockdown #southafricaistravelready #livevslivelihoods #southafricasoon #beatourismchampion

58 of Many – Youth Tourism is Key to Tourism Recovery


58 of Many

Dear Youth Tourism Stakeholders,

As the Vice-Chair of the SATSA Youth Chapter, I have been able to collect valuable data from 58 of my industry peers and am taking this opportunity to share the insights with you, as disheartening as they are.

Firstly, my sincere thank you to everyone that responded to our survey and assisted us in collecting this valuable data.

Various sub-sectors of youth tourism participated in the survey, including accommodation, language schools, volunteering, international internships, tour operators and other tourism services.

Respondents covered backpacker lodges located along the most pristine parts of our Eastern Cape coastline to tourist guides in the Drakensberg and transport services which operate across the country.

Highlights of the research:

  • The 58 companies polled employ 1,079 people directly with an average number of employees per company of just over 18.
  • Of the 58 companies, 20 are 100% reliant on international travel.
  • These 58 companies generate R550 million in revenue per year.
  • 91% of that R550 million revenue is reliant on inbound travel.
  • If borders are not reopened, about 980 jobs will be in jeopardy.
  • Over 47% said they would be closed before October if urgent change does not happen.
  • Revenues for 2020 are expected to decline over 80% on last year – a decline of R460 million.

This shows our industry is facing imminent collapse, but we still have a chance to survive. To ensure there is a future for South Africa’s incredible tourism industry, and based on learnings from the strategies of neighbouring countries and global leaders, there are three things we need urgently to save jobs and businesses and protect livelihoods:

  • For government to truly acknowledge the industry. We are South Africans, just like you. We are eager to engage with government. Let us do this together. The current silence is deafening.
  • Provincial and international borders to be opened for safe travel, under strict health and safety protocols to ensure we balance lives with preserving livelihoods.
  • Forward guidance. Bookings have a lead time of around 60 days and, even with deposits paid in the interim, cashflow is key at the best of times. Without a scheduled date or minimum criteria for our borders to open, few are willing to commit to South Africa travel.

I believe the above are the start to getting South Africa back on the radar of those intrepid travellers who want to visit Africa.

Together, we can save these 58 companies, 1,079 livelihoods, and the many, many more outside this small snapshot of an industry on its knees.

Let’s invite our guests to take part in the recovery. Let them come see #southafricaistravelready.


Tim Louw

Vice-Chair, SATSA Youth Chapter