The tourism sector in Mpumalanga has now banked on domestic tourism to boost the province’s GDP after a decline in international tourists.
The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) says the outbreak of the Omicron COVID-19 variant had a negative impact on tourism as most visitors cancelled their bookings.
Despite the drop in international visitors, most tourist attractions on the Panorama Route attract a huge number of local tourists.
Most of the visitors are from the different provinces of the country spending their holidays in Mpumalanga. Those in the tourism business say the situation has improved compared to last year.
Tour operator, Rufus Mokwela says they are now able to provide for their families. Mokwela hopes the situation will remain this way.
“Now, we are happy domestic tourism is coming up, I am happy people are coming in, everyone is picking up most of the tour guides are getting a job, hoping borders will open and more people to come down, people are wearing their mask and enjoying the view,” says Mokwela.
Mpumalanga tourism recovering from COVID-19 impact:
Both the young and old were seen enjoying themselves in and about the tourist attractions. Most have been left in awe of the beauty of the province.
“We have been here since Friday, we are leaving on Monday. Mpumalanga is great, we didn’t expect this weather, we thought it will be hot,” says one of the tourists.
Another tourist says, “We are here in Mpumalanga for the holidays. It has been wonderful. We are at the god’s window and we are going to MacMac falls.”
Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency CEO, Boy Nobunga says they embarked on a robust domestic tourism campaign.
“Well as the MPTA and the province we have witnessed a decline in the number of tourists that are coming in the province after the announce of the Omicron virus that was discovered in southern Africa countries including SA,” says Nobunga.
Since the Coronavirus outbreak, the province has been dealt a huge blow suffering a huge loss in its annual GDP.