Impact of domestic tourism as a strategy to the recovery of tourism activities from COVID-19

Written by Daniel Christopher Mkilanya – Art in Tanzania internship

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic there isn’t one industry unaffected, and tourism is no exception. From canceled weddings and festivals to less dining out, the world has taken a hit from the large decline in tourism. The U.S. alone has seen more than $297 billion in losses from the decrease in travel since the beginning of March 2020.

However, as the summer months push on and people look for any excuse to leave their houses, tourism is making a comeback – for better or worse. The tourism industry is undoubtedly changing, but people still want to travel. And tourism research is seeing that wanderlust desire. We need to remain mindful of the millions of people who work in the tourism industry and understand that changes in the industry directly affect individuals who depend on tourism.” For us to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry first we have to know what the coronavirus is and how is it spreads from one person to another

Flu coronavirus pandemic virus infection, travel and health concept. Medical stethoscope and travel documents on wood background. 3d illustration

1. What is a corona virus?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered type of coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illnesses. The best way to prevent andslow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes,and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face.

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

2. How coronavirus has affected the tourism industry

Failure of tourism business

It is often that tourism companies suffer in times of hardship, The independent travel agent in Arusha, the street seller in Zanzibar, the taxi driver in our airports. If there are no tourists, there is no business.

I have met many local workers on my travels during the Coronavirus outbreak. The effect of Coronavirus on tourism is most certainly evident in Tanzania. Many tourists have paid half the usual price for hotels and also many tourist attractions are without the crowds.

Whilst this has been good for tourists, it has been desperation for the local business people; the man who wants to sell ice cream, the lady who offers a ride home and the family-run restaurant business. Coronavirus has gone far by affecting large tourism business as a well. We have recently seen collapse of airline companies as a result of the reduction in tourism.

Restriction in traveling

Due to the increase in the number of victims, different countries have decided to impose traveling restriction as one of the ways of preventing further spread off coronavirus but also the general public is scared that they may transmit the virus to their elderly or immune- compromised friends and relatives.

As a result, many people are choosing not to travel. It’s a effective way to prevent further spread of coronavirus but for the traveling business it’s a great loss.

2. How the Domestic tourism will recover?

UN World Tourism Organization UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “UNWTO expects domestic tourism to return faster and stronger than international travel. Given the size of domestic tourism, this will help many destinations recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, while at the same time safeguarding jobs, protecting livelihoods and allowing the social benefits tourism offers to also return.”

The briefing note also shows that, in most destinations, domestic tourism generates higher revenues than international tourism. In OECD nations, domestic tourism accounts for 75%of total tourism expenditure, while in the European Union, domestic tourism expenditure is 1.8 times higher than inbound tourism expenditure. Globally, the largest domestic tourism markets in terms of expenditure is the United States with nearly US$ 1 trillion, Germany with US$ 249 billion, Japan US$ 201 billion, the United Kingdom with US$ 154 billion, and Mexico with US$ 139 billion (UNWTO, 2020).

Initiatives to boost domestic tourism

Given the value of domestic tourism and current trends, increasing numbers of countries are taking steps to grow their markets, UNWTO reports. This new Briefing Note provides case studies of initiatives designed to stimulate domestic demand. These include initiativesfocused on marketing and promotion as well as financial incentives (UNWTO, 2020).Examples of countries taking targeted steps to boost domestic tourist numbers include:

In Italy, the Bonus Vacanze initiative offers families with incomes of up to EUR 40,000 contributions of up to EUR 500 to spend on domestic tourism accommodation.

Malaysia allocated US$113 million worth of travel discount vouchers as well as personal tax relief of up to US$227 for expenditure related to domestic tourism.

Costa Rica moved all holidays of 2020 and 2021 to Mondays for Costa Ricans to enjoy longweekends to travel domestically and to extend their stays.

France launched the campaign #CetÉtéJeVisiteLaFrance (‘This Summer, I visit France’) highlighting the diversity of destinations across the country.

Argentina announced the creation of an Observatory for Domestic Tourism to provide a betterprofile of Argentine tourists.

Thailand will subsidise 5 million nights of hotel accommodation at 40% of normal room rates for up to five nights.

Internship at Art in Tanzania

By Emilia Sten and Anna Kevin DSCN6592

We are studying tourism at the University of Applied Sciences in Finland and it was time for us to have our internship. We knew that we wanted to do something out of the regular and we love travelling, so when we found the organization on our school’s list of possible internship places, we couldn’t get it out of our minds. We left the rainy Finland behind us heading for a months adventure, and it really has been one.

It took a while to get used to their “pole pole” (slow) working tempo. We got pretty free hands, but that also meant that we had to take things into our own hands. We wanted to get out as much as possible of our internship, and also see different places. After talking to some workers, we made up a plan, which everyone was happy with.

Our main task was to write stories on Art in Tanzania’s blog. This took us from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar and via Moshi back to Dar. To visit different places and talking to different people gave us a lot, and we hope we have been able to share what we learned to you on the blog. A part of our internship is also to be at the stand on the Nordic travel fair in January in Finland, so if you are around you are more than welcome to meet us there. Today is our last day, and we are amazed how much we have experienced in just a month. We are sad about leaving all the nice people behind and a bit a afraid that the real culture shock will hit us when we come home, since we didn’t have one when we arrived.

(Originally published May 5, 2014)

Discovering bird watching opportunity in Tanzania

By Marjut Valtanen (Originally published Jul 30, 2013)

crowned hornbil1Art in Tanzania will soon offer a nice bird watching trip to a protected area of Ruvu forest reserve near Dar es Salaam. The reserve is a 35 000 hectares mosaic of coastal vegetation including open dry forest, closed dry forest, thicket, swamp, woodland and grassland. Only 10 000 ha of the reserve can be considered a forest and most of its riparian forest in the South.

The Ruvu forest is under constant pressure from the illegal production of charcoal to supply markets in Dar es Salaam which lies 45 kilometers to the North-east of the reserve. Luckily conservation efforts have already been started.

Currently the Ruvu Fuelwood Pilot Project, a project of the Forestry and Beekeeping Division is responsible for the management of the reserve and the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TGCG) has been promoting joint forest management at Ruvu South since 2000. The project has seen establishment of a tree nursery and planting program to recover part of the degraded forest.butterfly

Ruvu forest reserve is part of the larger area of Kisaware district coastal forests Important Bird Area (IBA) and one of the most important coastal forests of Tanzania. According to Bird Life International, in Tanzania, coastal forest patches that are probably ‘stepping stones’ during migration are under heavy pressure and becoming increasingly fragmented.

There are several species as criteria for the status of the IBA. Of these two are endangered species; Sokoke Pipit (Anthus sokokensis) and Spotted Ground-thrush (Zoothera guttata). Additionally there are two species that are listed as near threatened; East Coast Akalat (Sheppardia gunningi) and Southern Banded Snake-eagle (Circaetus fasciolatus).

One of the recommended conservation efforts is ecotourism related to these species and bird watching tours are a perfect match to this recommendation.

“On our discovery tour to the reserve, we were walking in the Northern part of tall grassland and thickets. There are comfortable walking paths and you have nice views over small valleys and fields. In the beginning of the walk, we could hear a call of a coucal, but the bird itself is hiding in the bushes. Several yellow bishops (Euplectes capensis crassirostris) and Common bulbuls (Pycnonotus barbatus) fly around. Then we spot a Broad-billed roller (Eurystomus glaucurus) sitting quietly among tree branches. My favorite sightings during our walk are four Crowned hornbills (Tockus alboterminatus) and a Striped Kingfisher (Halcyon c. chelicuti).”

Bird Watching 4Besides being important area for birds, Ruvu forest reserve is also home to four Eastern Arc / Coastal Forest endemic vertebrate species and two species endemic to the coastal forests. There are also 33 species of plants within the reserve which are endemic to the Swahilian Regional Centre of Endemism. If you are really lucky, you may spot African bush elephants (Loxodonta Africana), listed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN red list, which are frequenting the reserve and migrating between here and Northern Selous, another popular game reserve in Tanzania.

As Ruvu forest reserve is so close to Dar es Salaam, Art in Tanzania intends to offer bird watching tours and support conservation efforts in this area. “I truly enjoyed our couple of hour’s trip away from the bustling city into this quiet reserve and hope to visit the Southern part of the reserve soon to see which bird species can be spotted there.”

Marjut Valtanen
Art in Tanzania
Team Leader
Conservation and Fair Trade
+255 752 207 873
skype: marvalta