South Africa Tourism and hospitality sector sees R1 billion through cancellation

 Tuesday, December 14, 2021 

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South Africa’s tourism and hospitality sectors lost about R1 billion through cancelled bookings, just in the 48 hours after initial ‘Omicron’ chaos caused global travel bans against the country.

 The discovery of Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 has dealt these industries a devastating blow. Many were pinning high hopes on the high season to rescue the flailing sectors. Now, home-grown businesses are getting creative to attract domestic tourism. Several well-known Cape Town CBD hotels are looking to locals to recover some business, through attractive specials.

CBD hotels are holding on, despite the ongoing difficulties. According to the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) latest The State of Cape Town Central City Report, the number of the hotels in the city centre dropped from 44 to 42 in 2020; an amazing survival rate considering the challenges.

 Hoteliers survived through smart strategies, including attracting domestic tourists through enticing staycation specials. Now, with the advent of Omicron, the emphasis is still on safe staycations, which means vaccinated locals could live their ‘best lives’ this summer at a fraction of the usual fees.

Now really is the moment to show South African businesses some love. Last year, Cape Town Tourism’s (CTT) Impact Report found its members lost R2 billion and shed 12 000 jobs during the traditional ‘high season’ months. The same report revealed room rates halved, on average, in most establishments between December 2020 and May 2021. Now, many hotels are having to add further specials to get heads onto pillows.

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