Whilst the global pandemic which is “Covid-19” has halted celebrations, get-togethers and any social events; including travel and adventure.
It’s no secret that the worst-hit industries, suffering during the Covid-19 pandemic, has been the hospitality and tourism sector. Hotels had to close their doors, restaurants are hanging on by their fingernails and tourism is begging for reprieve.
Finally there is some relieve with the national lockdown status dropping to Level 2. This will result in the re-opening of numerous tourism attractions, hotels and restaurants. Well, those who made it through the 5 month lockdown period at least. Analysts and business managers are looking at global trends and searching for ways to claw back their share in the tourism economy.
Humans are a “social species” and we do not do well alone. Interactions with different people, cultures and environments expand our horizons and provide us with the opportunities to grow and learn. Being boxed in for a prolonged period is bound to make some people anxious and restless. Revenge travel can be equated to “revenge buying“; whereby the purchase of luxury items are seem as a way of “spoiling” oneself. It’s no different for our need to explore and travel where impulse travel trips are now being booked and customers will look at the newfound freedom as a “gift”.
As the South-African travel and tourism industry emerges from its forced slumber the addition of destinations and “breaks” will be added to the list of the “wanderer”.
WHAT IS REVENGE TRAVEL?
According to Tania Tarafdar’s post “Revenge Travel Is The Newest Travel Trend Taking Over During The Pandemic“, she classifies Revenge Travel as:
The concept of ‘revenge spending’ appeared in China in the 1980s with growing consumer demand following poverty of the Cultural Revolution. In the past few months, the wealthy have responded to the quarantine blues by spending on luxury goods. Revenge travel is a case of the same notion. Travel analysts now carefully watch consumer sentiment and spending since tourism begin to unlock. There is a pattern of people wanting to travel within their country just to move out of their homes after all the strict lockdown. More and more people are now looking at drive-to destinations instead of vacation spots to avoid the flights.
It is said that business travel will remain slow out of the blocks, with the improvement of “home offices” and “virtual meeting spaces” the need to place workers at risk has significantly dropped by corporates and companies. Revenge travel does not fall into this portion of the sector; in fact companies are advising their key personnel to avoid travelling in order to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid 19.
Then there’s the travel rebels; those who defy the rules and “sneak” across inter-provincial borders for the perfect get-away. Now more than ever, with the travel ban between provinces lifted. Back are the Sunday morning outings to Harties or the one-night away destinations such as Dullstroom.
I do not consider myself adventurous (not even at the best of times) however after a 4-month work-from-home lockdown and the stress of re-opening a business under the fear of Covid 19 I needed to just get away. My parents have settled in the Western Cape (more accurately retired in the Garden Route) earlier this year – what a great road trip that would be I thought (impulsively) one evening sitting in front of the television. And that’s what sparked my Revenge Travel idea!
OUR REVENGE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
We went through the entire process of getting permits, letters, stamps, and declaring our entire pedigree in order to comply with regulations for travel between provinces – well 5 provinces to be exact.
All was well, first leg of our road trip was to Bloemfontein; with a border patrol on the Gauteng/Free State border, and an overnight-stay at a pet friendly guesthouse.
The next day we left fairly early to cover the 8 hour trip to the Garden Route.
After two speedy days spent in George, we embarked on the journey back (this time with an overnight stay at Gariep).
Revenge Travel is about supporting the smaller establishments and privately owned operators along the way – we managed to pop into smaller towns such as Willowmore, Aberdeen, Gariep dam, Uniondale and a few coastal stops as well.
Noticed during our Revenge Travel Road Trip:
- With the lack of local (and international) tourism, smaller towns are struggling to survive.
- Even though we forget at times that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, everywhere we stopped they were equipped with temperature scanners, (industrial strength) hand sanitisers and protocols.
- Police roadblocks were a breeze; we were well prepared with every stop along the way, but the police officers were jovial and in good spirits. We did not encounter any challenges or animosity.
- Always fill up the petrol tank at Graaf-Reinet; even if you think you will be okay to the next town.
- Coastal towns (with the majority of holiday-homes) are quiet and ghostly during this time; don’t expect the usual vibe and open doors for meals or treats.
- Everyone we encountered were friendly, accommodating and eager to help.
Since we’ve returned from our exhausting trip, we are already planning short-stay trips which are close by and accessible – making our Revenge Travel plans something to hang on to for the meantime.
WHAT WILL YOU DO AS REVENGE TRAVEL?
Support your local tourism destinations and see the country as part of your own “revenge travel story”.
“I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.” – Carew Papritz.