Mpumalanga tourism officials are optimistic the tourism numbers will increase this festive season. The sector took a knock due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
With beaches closed in some coastal towns, they’re hoping people will visit the province’s parks and outdoor attractions.
Many have begun arriving.
“COVID-19 has affected my business and I took this trip to relax and see the place,” one tourist says.
“We are on a road trip from Johannesburg to Giyani and we stopped in Mpumalanga so my wife and kid can see this place; I hope we will be able to see the window (God’s Window),” says another tourist.
For some, it was a trip they couldn’t cancel.
“We are from the Eastern Cape because they closed the beach, we came here.”
Gloria Phiri’s business is in recovery. After the pandemic struck, it forced her sons to drop out of college.
“Since the 16th, business has been good and I think things will be better next year and my children will be able to go back to school.”
Strict COVID-19 protocol enforced
With tourists are streaming in, strict COVID-19 rules enforced.
Mpumalanga Tourism and Park Agency CEO, Johannes Nobunga, confirms Phiri’s assertions that tourism numbers have started to increase.
“The number have started to increase even though they are still small compared to the previous years, and we are hoping they will continue to increase. The main challenge is people coming to our tourist attractions without wearing mask. We had to turn back a lot of people. We are allowing a certain number of people at a time.”
With tourism tentatively recovering, outdoor attractions are recommended.
Mpumalanga Tourism hoping for more visitors: