Punishing southern Africa?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The complaint from some people in the South African government and nighboring nations is that they are being punished by other nations for revealing the Omicrom variant.

As could be expected, the World Health Organization’s African office said there was no need to impose travel restrictions, a mantra the WHO followed at the start of the epidemic in January 2020 and again when the delta variant became known for being more virulent.

But much of what has been said is aimed at a local audience rather than a worldwide one.

Many virologists and medical experts say that travel has been a key spreader of COVID and restricting travel slows down its spread.

Given the number of countries saying that they have found cases – Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and France – all announced cases today, travel seems a contributor.

At the delta variant news, many countries were slow to introduce travel restrictions. Mindful of the criticism, countries have responded must faster to the annoyance of countries in southern Africa and the travel industry.

Could the reactions of countries be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted?

Have the swift actions caused us ordinary travellers to become nervous about travelling over the next few months?

The answer to the latter question is almost certainly yes. At least until experts confirm the effect of omicrom. Talking to some people who regularly holiday in South Africa during our winter, they are looking for some other warm destination to visit in January and February having exercised the no penalty clauses in their existing holiday contracts.

In these cases travel agents were more than helpful in switching the business elsewhere. If that is replicated it is not the travel agents that will suffer but the destinations and airlines with limited route coverage.

Tour operators with a wide portfolio of destinations that exercise speed in talking to their customers and switching them could benefit from this and actually improve their customer service ratings by being pro-active with customers during the coming week.

But gaining new customers especially in the next couple of weeks could be difficult because, for those who haven’t yet booked an overseas winter holiday, nervousness will apply.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: ,