Two Studies were released last Thursday that examine peoples’ sentiments towards travel in the coming six months. One was conducted by MMGY Travel Intelligence for the U.S. Travel Association. This study focused on the US market. The second was by Phocuswright of travelers in the U.S., surveying travelers from the U.K., France, and Germany. All-around, the survey results are encouraging.
According to the Phocuswright study, 61% of travelers who have had to cancel or postpone trips are hoping to reschedule in the next six months. Also, 41% of travelers under the age of 34 indicated that they plan to take advantage of COVID-19-related discounts. These numbers show that people still have the desire and drive to travel. People will be paying attention to the number of cases in their homes as well as their destinations as well as government restrictions. But, despite the hassles, people want to get back out there.
Now it is the job of all members of the tourism sector to work on building trust in the safety of travel and financial security for travelers. People want to take the vacations they had planned, that is clear. And we understand that nobody wants to risk getting sick or getting stuck somewhere without the option to return home, so we are here for any enquiries you may have about the destination and the situation here.
Right now our job is to show you what is happening in Tanzania, in Mafia and what we are doing at Kinasi. We are all working to ensure safety is embedded in the future “normality” to obviate risk and concern for our guests. We want to ensure comfort and confidence without undue melodramatics. There is no “lockdown” in Tanzania and we are free to move from Zanzibar via Dar es Salaam to Mafia and back. We are required to sanitize hands at many points along the way and if we use the ferry we must pass under a spray “cattle dip” (totally useless, I think). At the airport we must wear masks and have our temperature taken (done six times in a single day on my last trip). We also wear latex gloves. When we arrive in Mafia we are being checked again by trained medical staff at the airport and – for visitors – a questionnaire is completed to ensure that the compulsory self-quarantine has been endured and for tracking in case of a Covid case (on the plane, for example). So far, so good. It’s Ramadhan now so socially it’s pretty quiet anyway, and people are aware that some form of “social distancing” is good sense. Tanzanians are pretty savvy on the internet and there is a lot of local news and information so there is awareness but there is also the extraordinary African “acceptance” – or is it tolerance and resilience – of fate, outcomes, situations, life and death. There is no panic buying (Who has the cash for that ?) so life is very “normal”.
We have our employee-company survival plan in place and with new bookings trickling in and existing bookings still there or postponing (for which we are very grateful) we see the future but now it is time to strengthen our community, our destination and our services. Those are our focus in the next months. We are NOT of the opinion that there is going to be an upheaval, a revolution in the form, shape and detail of travel; changes, yes for sure, especially over the short-term, and with that in mind we believe Mafia Island has all the positive aspects of a low-volume, safe and natural, unblemished destination with an excellent range of attractions….the ideal personified by Mafia Island Kipekee !
At Kinasi we realise we need to be more concerned with hygiene than ever and even more careful with housekeeping procedures, so we have adopted the strategy of completely “sanitising” our rooms and public areas regularly by disinfection of all surfaces and immersion of all soft furnishings in high-quality disinfectant solutions prior to machine-washing with heated water (60oC is a normal “long cotton wash” with our washing machine). Sheets and pillowcases are always dried in the sun (UV light is the best defence for viruses) hot-ironed and stored only with cleaned sheets, towels and other fabrics.
Our personnel have already become very aware of the need for constant hand-washing and will wear face masks and gloves while undertaking room service and kitchen, bar and restaurant service until we believe it is completely safe to be more “human” – if not completely carefree – again, as a society and in our relationships.
If you would like to take a virtual safari and see the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti National Park, please go here.
With best wishes from Mafia and Zanzibar
Antonella & Peter Byrne