The Kingdom of Eswatini is one of the first southern African countries to receive the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels Stamp.
“Eswatini is pleased to join other destinations in being part of the globally recognised WTTC Safe Travels protocols,” said Minister of Tourism, Moses Vilakati.
“Implementation of these protocols is part of our message to tourists far and wide that Eswatini is open for tourism business; we are ready to receive tourists warmly and safely to the Kingdom of Eswatini.”
WTTC represents the private travel and tourism sector globally and designed the stamp to enable travellers to make safe travel choices in the wake of COVID-19.
In an exclusive interview with Tourism Update, CEO of the Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA), Linda Nxumalo, said the next steps were to ensure that all industry players complied with the protocols and boosted market confidence in the destination.
“All property owners will have to earn this stamp through their compliance and they already have been implementing safety measures. We are working with the Department of Health in rolling out monitoring and evaluation processes,” she said.
Nxumalo added that the ETA was excited that South Africa had moved to Alert Level 2 of the COVID-19 risk-adjusted strategy. “It is giving us hope that regional tourism may open soon, and that is important for us as South Africa is a key source market for Eswatini.”
Business tourism is still the main activity in Eswatini’s tourism sector with a slow restart of domestic tourism. “Locals are enjoying the outdoor activities in small, intimate groups of friends and families and some of our adventure tourism offerings are being enjoyed by the domestic market.”
She said the tourism authority was developing a digital tracking and tracing platform that would be piloted soon. “It is similar to the platform that is currently used by the Department of Health. We wish to have a reciprocal arrangement with our neighbouring countries to pilot this platform but we are still discussing this.”
Nxumalo said Eswatini was working on establishing international linkages with other African countries to further boost tourism numbers. “We noted that Kenya has opened for international flights and the Eswatini Civil Aviation Authority has begun discussions with its East African counterparts.”