South Africa’s luxury train - The Blue Train- is starting to see an increase in the number of international guests travelling for leisure as worldwide Covid-19 vaccination rollout programmes get underway, an early indication of recovery in the tourism sector.
For the first quarter of 2021, The Blue Train welcomed visitors as far as from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland on board the luxury train. The Blue Train has also enjoyed the company of local tourists who, following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown regulations in November 2020, have been supporting this national treasure and other local tourism businesses.
“Since returning to operations, we have had the great fortune of overwhelming support from local guests. We kicked off with fully booked trains as per new capacity dictates well into the first quarter of 2021, and we continue with that winning streak. Worth mentioning is the increasing number of international guests from the United States of America and European countries that we have been hosting on board The Blue Train over the last few weeks,” said Nomasonto Ndlovu, Executive Manager of Tourism, Hospitality & Heritage at Transnet.
COVID-19 precautions, aligned with Department of Tourism and World Health Organisation guidelines have improved at The Blue Train. The latest addition to these precautions was the introduction of rapid antigen testing for all guests and crew prior to departure. This, on top of the strict wearing of masks in shared spaces, frequent sanitizing and servicing of air conditioning systems has gone a long way in ensuring that guests can surrender to the luxury of slow without any worry.
In the wake of Covid-19 -lockdowns worldwide, over a year ago, the tourism sector was among the hardest hit and lost billions in revenue in the process. The sector adapted and stayed spirited, adapting to uncertain and consequential variables within stringent health and safety guidelines. In spite of these challenges, South African guests showed up, and continue to do so, to support the industry and appreciate domestic tourism experiences.