Avatar photo

By Citizen Reporter


Stokvels and hotels – how Mpumalanga hotel is saving itself

eBundu Lodge is planning to utilise stokvels to attract not only customers to their doors but help grow the domestic tourism market.

A hotel in Mpumalanga is initiating innovative ways to keep its doors open during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The award-winning eBundu Lodge in Mpumalanga, which won the Lilizela Tourism Awards for Service Excellence in 2019, has utilised the multi-billion rand empire that many South African use to build on their money – stokvels.

The tourism industry is on its knees due to the restrictions and lack of international travellers since March 2020. Many establishments have shut their doors but eBundu used the formula of stokvels, putting in savings into a group account to accumulate money that can be evenly split. The savings is usually used for food but eBundu is using the formula to attract locals to experience the fantastic beauty of their country.

Co-owner Zodwa Tshabalala said: “Stokvels have billions in savings and members are not only interested in saving to buy groceries. They want to go on holiday and want to buy houses, so we are targeting them.”

They are in talks with the LGBTQIA tour organisers to get the stokvels more involved to grow the domestic tourism market.

ALSO READ: Midlands Meander: Community tourism at its finest

According to the National Stokvel Association of SA, there were more than 11 million stokvel members and R44 billion is collectively saved in 820 000 stokvels in South Africa annually in 2019.

The lodge hopes this will be a win for both sides.

Not only creating different ways to stay afloat, eBundu is shifting away from their main income of conferencing and international tourists, however, they do predict their return to the local sector in 2022.

Tshabalala said it isn’t a bad thing they relying on domestic tourism to survive.

“We, as the travel industry, need to change the perception that travel is only for the wealthy or privileged. We need to have a better understanding of the differing needs of South African travellers and especially would-be travellers and make sure that we cater to that. That is what eBundu is doing.”

She added that the industry isn’t in the driver seat anymore, its a “buyer’s market” and the customer is truly “king”.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Read more on these topics

Mpumalanga SA tourism travel

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits