04 Jun Effects of Covid on watersport centres around the world
Coronavirus… a word we wish we did not have to hear anymore.
Yeah… we all are on the same boat.
But unfortunately, it seems that it will be around for a little while longer. Not only affecting our personal lives, but also in our professional ones. The global economy is crashing.
The tourism industry and especially small to midsized businesses are probably the most affected by the crisis. Many of our friends/colleagues have had to close down already.
As for us, and our water sports centre in Tarifa, the past few months have been the hardest of our entire business history.
Watersport centres around the world
We feel for our friends out there, which watersport centres are maybe even hit harder. Local families who sadly live from what they work that day, as well as in countries that won’t be able to recover faster than others.
But despite this, we also witnessed incredible support actions from the centres, as donations and creatively reinventing themselves.
That’s why we show you here the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on watersports centres around the world and their situation, impact and vision.
In the end, we are all in this together! And we will come out there together!
Enjoy digital travelling around to these beautiful places and centres. And maybe, even a real travel this year![/vc_column_text]
I met Dilsiri, one of the two owners of Kitesurfing Lanka, back in 2012 before they opened their resort. It was one of the first ones in Kalpitiya and since then, I could feel Dilsiri’s illusion and motivation, not just for the sport, but to accommodate people and show them his beautiful country of Sri Lanka.
In the last years, I have been often back, for work in kite factories and for our camps and I could see how his business was flourishing each year more. Creating a small oasis for backpackers and solo travellers. Really impressive and a great job!
KSL had a double hit with the April Bombings in 2019. When COVID hit Sri Lanka, KSL had to take immediate cost-cutting actions and embrace for a difficult summer season. While they retained all staff, all of them took a pay cut in order to stretch the reserves they had for the unforeseeable future. Presently KSL is stable however their newer sister kite camp on the Adams Bridge Mannar, Vayu is having a more difficult time.
Founded year: 2012
Nr. of Employees: 50
Affected by COVID-19: All 50
KSL stopped all activities but committed to take cate of the employees and their families through the COVID-19 pandemic. Not an easy task with this amount of staff.
They halted all constructions and tried to reduce all costs. Also, KSL started a fundraising action which should support the employees and their families.
Today, they actually already reached their aim, which is fantastic! It also says a lot about the kitesurfing community!
To help KSL, find here the fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/f/kitesurfing-lanka-fundraiser
They hope that tourism will be recovered by May 2021… and we can only hope that it happens even before that!
Let’s move to Germany now. Some of you might think that Germany does not has really a sea or place to kitesurfing, but actually do! There are even several islands with great conditions.
Windgeister Fehmarn was one of the first watersport schools where I worked with, back in 2006. They were a lovely team and I helped on the first Girls Camps together with Birgit Daube. Windgeister was founded already in 1993 and “Stutzi” is not just well known because of his famous Kite tests in several magazines, but also because of his great business setup.
Still, nowadays, Windgeister Fehmarn is a famous and great place in north Germany to start or practice kitesurfing.
Usually, Windgeister has 12 employees but as the Island of Fehmarn got completely locked down, now there is nobody working. Some of the team members enjoyed the empty beaches by kitesurfing every day though 😉
Now (May 2020) they are able to retake their activity slowly but only 1:1 courses, keeping 1,5m social distancing, lots of hygiene rules (washing hands, disinfecting everything) and they do not believe the international tourism will recover soon.
“It will either be full-on within the next couple of weeks or a second wave will produce a second lockdown and the entire summer season 2020 will be lost. “
How the recover will look like? “This is too soon to really tell. Germany was hit earlier and the chances of a quick recovery are quite good.”
Thanks, Murdoc Schwalm for your words and participation.
Next we have our friends from Perukite.
Casey lived several years in Sri Lanka and then decided to do her own school in far and beautiful Peru.
For herself and her team, the Corona crisis hit especially hard, as they were just setting up and investing for the season.
They have 5 employees which are all affected by COVID-19 and needed to stop working.
“All Perukite staff have been without work since the 15th of March 2019. We had to make a fast decision to let the foreign instructors go. Some of them left Peru immediately and some are still stuck and waiting to go back. Our 4 full-time staff who are living in Peru are eagerly waiting for better news ahead. “
Actions taken during COVID-19:
“Two days before lockdown on March 13th we arranged a meeting with all staff to tell them about the information we had just received. Which originally was, we would be closed for two weeks or potentially more. The borders will close and we do not know when they reopen. We strongly advised our staff if they wanted to leave Peru now is the time then and please take our advice as we do not know when we can reopen. “
Prognostic for tourism to recover:
“We have heard local tourism will come back to Peru around July. But we are still waiting for information when the borders will open.
We hope to be back on the beach reopening as a team for the start of high season in November 2020. “
Action for after COVID-19, promotions etc
Go Fund me – We are raising money for our staff who have been struggling during COVID 19 without help or a regular income. All money raised from gofundme will go directly to helping those families. Please check our Giveaways as we have some great deals in return to say thank you!!
Gift Vouchers –We have gift vouchers with over 20% discount on lots of our services and a 3-year time limit.
Good luck from our side and we hope the country will open up soon and tourism will recover.
Coming closer again to Europe, we interviewed our friends from Freak Windsurf. It’s a fairly new windsurf center situated in the biggest kitesurf resort, Dakhla Attitude in Western Sahara, Morocco. One of the most beautiful watersport paradises out there!
Freak Windsurf was created in 2018 within Dakhla Attitude hotel and have had no income for more than 9 weeks. The 5 employees are on stand by and the owners stuck in Dakhla.
For now, it looks like that international flights will recover by end of July, so the hope is big that then the tourism will fast recover in Dakhla and a great autumn season will kick in.
Freak Surf took their time to create many special offers, invested in Surf magazines and move online.
If you are looking to learn windsurf or just love the sport, reach out to them and enjoy a real watersport paradise!
I met Chris from Hang Loose many years ago in Tarifa during a summer. He then moved to Mauritius where he started his own kitesurf project – Hang Loose – where he teaches beginners and organises trips for more advanced riders too. He basically takes care of everything for your holiday if you want.
For Hang Loose, Corona has also stopped their complete activity of course. Since March 2020 there is no income / turnover due to lockdown. Now the curfew has been stopped but all nautic activities are still prohibited.
Find below the rest of the interview we had with Chris:
How did it affect your employees situation?
We had to let go of most of our employees. Currently, we are only employing 2 and might still have to reduce it.
Actions taken during COVID-19: We reduced our costs as good as possible.
Your prognosis when tourism will recover: It is very difficult to say. There are some rumours to restart the tourism by July, but I personally think it won’t be before September or even October.
Action for after COVID-19, promotions etc: We will target the high client market first.
Additional comments: This situation has changed a lot world wide and we really hope that our business can survive this very difficult times.
We hope this too for everybody out there! Thanks Chris!
It’s also you, who revives it. So feel free, to reach out to your dream place right now and book that holiday for 2020. And pssst, one secret tip, beaches will be finally more empty again! And waves with more space to surf!
See you out there!