SA’s tourism industry records improvement
A report by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) shows that the country’s tourism industry is experiencing a slight improvement after months of freefalling.
One of the key findings in the publication Tourist accommodation, September 2020 was that seasonally adjusted income from accommodation increased by 56,7% month-on-month in September 2020 and by 98,6% month-on-month in August.
However, accommodation establishments are not out of the woods yet, as the overall picture looks bleak. As shown in the graph below, the tourist accommodation bookings naturally dropped sharply when Lockdown Level 5 was instated in March 2020. The total income for the tourist accommodation industry decreased by 71,8% in September 2020 compared with September 2019.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), South Africa’s sector contributed 1.5-million jobs and R425.8-billion to the economy in 2019, but its contribution will no doubt be anywhere near that of previous years for 2020.
In May 2020, the WTTC reported that five international air transport and tourism bodies have launched an appeal to international financial institutions, country development partners and international donors to support Africa’s Travel & Tourism sector, which employs some 24.6 million people on the African continent.
In recent months, various provinces have launched tourism campaigns to attract travellers in the hopes of fanning the flame in time for the festive season. Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane also expressed optimism and reported an uptick in travel. She urged South Africans to travel locally in a public address in October.
‘We are already implementing our aggressive domestic marketing strategy, encouraging South Africans to travel their country since the end of the lockdown. The response to these campaigns has been overwhelming, South Africans have responded beyond expectations. The feedback I have been receiving from the sector is that domestic tourism has helped to put many tourism businesses back into operation and many jobs are being recovered in the sector,’ she said.