Original Research

Domestic tourism as a recovery strategy in the face of COVID-19: Insights from South Africa

Siyabulela Nyikana, Hilary K.N Bama
Acta Commercii | Vol 23, No 1 | a1066 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v23i1.1066 | © 2023 Siyabulela Nyikana, Hilary K.N. Bama | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 June 2022 | Published: 27 March 2023

About the author(s)

Siyabulela Nyikana, School of Tourism and Hospitality, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Hilary K.N Bama, Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


Orientation: This article drew from an interpretivist research orientation.

Research purpose: This study aimed at contextualising domestic tourism as a strategic tool with which the tourism sector can recover from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: The impact of COVID-19 on the economy, and tourism in particular, has been devastating in South Africa. Given the historical overreliance on international tourism receipts, the importance of domestic tourism was highlighted during the reduced lockdown levels. This study was therefore motivated by the potential of this market to offset some of the losses to international tourism in times of uncertainty.

Research design, approach and method: This study involved a qualitative research design where in-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with purposefully selected key resource stakeholders (n = 20) in domestic tourism. These interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.

Main findings: The study found that the stakeholders were satisfied with how the government initially dealt with the pandemic, although they were very critical of the lack of communication. Additionally, they noted that domestic tourism is an important springboard for recovery in the country but only if effective collaboration between the private and public sectors is enhanced.

Practical/managerial implications: Recommendations are made for more communication amongst stakeholders, which in turn will result in better collaborations and ultimately achieving effective use of domestic tourism as a cornerstone for further development and recovery.

Contribution/value-add: This study makes a modest contribution to tourism research, especially in the face of external shocks such as that of the COVID-19 pandemic.


coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); domestic tourism; tourism recovery; resilience; sustainable development.


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