Post-Corona Tourism Planning: Lessons from Portugal & South Africa

Total Croatia News


April 15, 2020 – Are countries making plans for post-corona tourism? Should they be? Some interesting approaches from Portugal and South Africa.

Spending so much time online, I tend to follow things that do not overly concern me, and one of the things that I have taken more than a passing interest in recent years is the social media crisis response to disasters. 

Remember the cruise ship and the erupting volcano on White Island in New Zealand? That was just four months – and many lifetimes – ago. As my lovely Russian sister-in-law was working on the ship, I followed events very closely, and I was very surprised to see the Facebook activity on the main cruise ship company page with its almost 5 million followers. The ship has its own Facebook page and posted a touching note about the tragedy, as well as a poignant video as the ship left the harbour a couple of days later. 

But the main page? Absolutely nothing at all. For 9 days. And then, on December 17, 2019, when a post finally appeared, it was as though nothing had happened and the FB admin had taken some time off for a holiday. But I am not a crisis communications expert, so perhaps that is the way to deal with the situation.


The subject of post-corona travel is a complicated one to deal with. With so many people in lockdown, and with tourism so intangible at the moment, never mind the impending economic crisis, there are those who say we should not be talking about tourism at all at this time. 

And perhaps they are right. 

The thing is, though, tourism is more than 20% of Croatia’s GDP, and while tourism may well be different on the other side, tourism will be an essential part of Croatia’s economic recovery. And so it makes sense (to me at least) to start planning for scenarios. 

This is an unprecedented situation in our history, where a significant portion of the world is at home with time on its hands, with only two real escape routes from the current nightmare – memories of the past and dreams of the future. 

I don’t think I am alone in that I have some INSANE longings for things that I can’t have right now – and the photos of the fabulous steaks from Durina Hiza were driving me crazy until owner Nikola Bozic announced a nationwide steak (and other products) delivery service.  

Should we be trying to create that desire and connection to future tourists at the moment, or all lockdown and forget about the world until it returns to a semblance of normality?

I personally think that creating engaging content about destinations now will sow seeds of interest for the future. I am very aware that we are more fortunate than many with our current setup on Hvar, after we decided to see this one out at our Jelsa home (after we lost all our bookings), and I am conscious that posting gorgeous images and photos by the sea can be torture to some. But I have been overwhelmed with messages of thanks and requests for more by so many people who plan to visit Hvar as soon as they can. 

Easter Sunday was extraordinary, with people not on Hvar tagging their friends so they could hear the bells ringing on Easter Sunday. 

So what is happening at the national tourist board level around the world? Is anyone taking a proactive approach to preparing for post-corona tourism? YES! Here are two very interesting promotional tourism videos put out in the corona age. 

South Africa Tourist Board


Portugal Tourist Board


The response by the Croatian National Tourist Board to the Zagreb earthquake was magnificent – see this video posted on its Facebook page the same day. Very impressive. 

Regarding post-corona tourism, however, I have seen absolutely nothing proactive in the way South Africa and Portugal have responded. Indeed, it seems that they are still formulating a plan, according to today’s news – Croatian National Tourist Board Discusses Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic.

Getting the post-corona tourism strategy right is going to be essential for the Croatian economy, as competition for the diminishing number of tourists who will travel will be insane. 

Let’s hope Croatia comes up with the right formula. 

For more insights into scenarios for post-corona tourism, you can check out this thought-provoking series from Zoran Pejovic from Paradox Hospitality.  



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