What’s trending in domestic travel?

3 key trends that define tourist behaviour.

Hero Character Hero Sun Hero Clouds Hero Background
Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration

While domestic tourism is showing a steady recovery, spending in a number of tourism expenditure categories is yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

Adding to this, various economic factors caused shrinkage in share of wallet on non-essential expenditure such as travel. Despite this, there is a strong need in the market for travel as a means of dealing with the effects of Covid-19 fatigue.

Below we uncover the current local trends
and their impact on domestic travel.


1. Mental Health

The impact of living
in a pandemic and the
ever-changing lockdown
restrictions have created
another looming pandemic:
compromised mental health.

To mitigate this, people
are opting to travel for
emotional reconnection
and reconnecting to
nature by spending time
in the outdoors and
wide-open spaces.


September 11 2001

Travelling to Visit Friends and Relatives (VFR) and reconnect with loved ones will become important for consumers.

Global Financial Cris 2008

The need for connecting with family and friends aligns with the trend that consumers see this as a form of self-care to deal with Covid-19 fatigue.

covid-19 Pandamic 2020

And in response to time spent alone at home, there will be a renewed interest in nature and outdoor activities where they can socialise and spend time with family.

Visiting Friends and relatives

September 11 2001

VFR travel accounts for the largest number of domestic trips

Global Financial Cris 2008

Most domestic travellers are between the ages of 18 - 34 years

covid-19 Pandamic 2020

Socialising with family and friends is the most popular activity for VFR travellers


The price of petrol in SA has increased exponentially over the last few years, the increase could result in double-digit inflation until March 2022*.

There has been a 25% increase in petrol prices pre-pandemic to now. Transport is the biggest expenditure item for domestic travellers and thus petrol prices will affect their trip spend

Petrol price Increases over the years


September 11 2001

High petrol prices negatively impacted travel costs (fuel, flights, minibus taxi fares).

Global Financial Cris 2008

Increase also inadvertently resulted in a rise of the cost of general goods.

covid-19 Pandamic 2020

As travel is non-essential and with budget constraints, consumers will reconsider travel. As the focus for consumers will be to cover basic needs first.

3. unemployment

According to StatsSA, Unemployment rate in South Africa significantly increased in 2021 and a quarter-by-quarter comparison indicates 584 000 lost their jobs between Q1 and Q2 of 2021.

September 11 2001
Global Financial Cris 2008
covid-19 Pandamic 2020

There are 7,8 million people that are unemployed in South Africa


September 11 2001

An increase in unemployment leads to a shrinkage in the number of domestic tourists that can afford domestic travel.

Global Financial Cris 2008

As a result, individuals that are employed, are now financially responsible for more people in the household and family.

covid-19 Pandamic 2020

With disposable income decreasing, it becomes necessary to cut back on non-essential expenditure to accommodate their constrained wallets


Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration Section 1 Illustration

As the consumers are looking for wide-open spaces, travel trade needs to meet the consumers needs by packaging these experiences.

With budget constraints comes a more price conscious consumer. Trade needs to be aware of the constraints and adjust package prices and offering accordingly.

Giving travellers clear COVID-19 information gives them the confidence to book and assures them of their safety during the trip.

Travel starts from home, there is an opportunity to encourage consumers to enjoy local tourism experiences and re-grow their community’s economy from the ground up.

Sources: * BusinessTech *CNBC Africa