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‘Workationers’ set to get SA travel industry going again



woman in yellow shirt sitting on brown wooden folding chair on beach

Now that South Africa’s back on Level 1, and the United Kingdom has taken the country off its notorious Red List for travel, we’re back on track to welcome visitors from all over the world. However, as is true with many sectors, the world of travel, and the world of work, have changed significantly. 

With many airlines requiring negative PCR tests before passengers embark for international flights, and many countries insisting on proof of vaccination for travellers to avoid quarantining on landing, the admin surrounding international travel has grown somewhat. This means it makes good sense to spend as much time at a destination as possible, to make all the administrative requirements more worthwhile. 

While the shift to online work made it possible for many businesses to overcome the obstacle of not travelling over the last 18 months, it also showed many executives that they could indeed do their jobs remotely – wherever “remotely” happens to be. 

It also demonstrated that business travellers don’t have to sacrifice important family time as working remotely has allowed them to travel with their families. 

This combination has led to the phenomenon of ‘workations’, where technology enabled workers to do their jobs wherever there’s an internet connection – with many taking their work – and their families – to exotic locations, without any interruption to their tasks. 

“We’ve seen a noticeable uptick in executives choosing our apartment-style hotels for their long-term workation stays,” says Marc Wachsberger, managing director of The Capital Hotels and Apartments, which has properties in South Africa’s leading tourist and business locations. “There’s little need for executives and other knowledge workers to be office-bound anymore, so they’re following the summer around the world and choosing to work in beautiful locations as a refreshing change from their regular environments.

“With our hotels offering discounted rates for longer stays, along with exchange rates that make South Africa more affordable to visitors from abroad than ever, it’s simpler and more feasible than ever to work from South Africa, no matter where your business may be based.”

South Africa’s cities offer the perfect workation locations, with Johannesburg being the economic and shopping heartland of the African continent – yet within easy reach of significant tourist attractions like the Cradle of Humankind and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. 

Durban’s temperate ocean and beautiful beaches make it a great choice, too. For example, says Wachsberger, gems like The Capital Pearls in Umhlanga are conveniently close to King Shaka International Airport while overlooking the sparkling Indian Ocean. Nearby The Capital Zimbali will offer another luxurious alternative, after its opening in November 2021. 

Holiday rental providers like Umhlanga Accommdation also provide a wide range of high-end apartments for short-term letting, that are ideal for workationers looking for locatons in close proximity to the airport.

“The proliferation of e-hailing across South Africa means that workationers don’t need to turn to public transport to get around in their home away from home,” says Gareth Taylor, regional manager for Bolt in Southern Africa. “Travellers from Europe and elsewhere in Africa can trust the Bolt brand that they’re familiar with, to connect them to drivers to take them where they need to be.” 

With Bolt available in more than 35 locations across South Africa, workationers can turn to e-hailing for safe affordable transport to tourist locations, restaurants, or even shopping destinationsy. The platform offers various categories, including Bolt Women Only, particularly appealing to solo female travellers, and Bolt Premium, for a more luxurious ride.