Hotels dealt heaviest blow from lockdown restrictions, accommodation data shows

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Income from accommodation decreased by 35.9% year-on-year in March 2021. (iStock)
Income from accommodation decreased by 35.9% year-on-year in March 2021. (iStock)
  • The impact of the coronavirus related lockdowns and travel bans is still reflected in the tourism accommodation sector.
  • Data released by Stats SA shows a year-on-year negative trend for tourism accommodation in March this year.
  • Hotel accommodation has taken the biggest knock.

The tourist accommodation industry's unadjusted income has decreased by nearly half year-on-year, with hotels taking the biggest knock, Stats SA said on Monday.

Measured in nominal terms, the sector's total income decreased by 45.3% in March 2021 compared to March 2020.

This includes other income, for example from restaurants and bars.

The quarterly comparison, meanwhile, shows that income from accommodation decreased by just under 65% in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Here, too, the main contributor was hotels (-69%).

In March this year, all types of accommodation recorded a large drop in income from accommodation year-on-year as the impact of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions continued. Bookings decreased as well as the income generated per booking. The number of stay unit nights sold dropped by 16.5%, while average income per stay unit night sold dropped by nearly a quarter (23.2%).

The largest year-on-year decreases in income from accommodation were reported by hotels, at just under 40%.

Glimmer of hope

A slightly brighter picture emerged from the month-on-month data, where seasonally adjusted income from accommodation showed a 37.6% increase in March. The largest positive month-on-month growth rates were recorded for hotels (52%) and caravan parks and camping sites (50.4%).

Recent efforts to boost the recovery of the tourism industry include the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) and the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality's goal to form a partnership to benefit the events industry in the city.

The three-year collaboration agreement will have a focus on creating opportunities for SMMEs and youth, stimulating economic growth through business tourism and encouraging collaboration between the public and private sectors in the tourism industry.

Furthermore, the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) wants to ensure its bid support programme also enables the economic benefits of the meetings industry beyond the country's main metros. So far it has identified about 27 smaller towns to focus on as a start.

Meanwhile, Cape Town Tourism is offering a 100% free membership package to its "Classic Members" for the rest of 2021 in an effort to help battling tourism businesses.

Earlier in May, the Western Cape government submitted a request to the national government to introduce a "remote working visa" to allow international visitors to stay longer and work remotely while travelling in South Africa. 

Premier Hotels & Resorts strategically, recently acquired land in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal. It is spending R365 million on the construction of two hotels on one precinct on Umhlanga Ridge. The new builds are a 4-star Premier Hotel Umhlanga and a three-star Premier Splendid Inn Umhlanga, which will include a conference centre.

In April Southern African hospitality group Cresta Hotels opened a hotel in Cape Town's city centre, aimed at leisure and business travellers in the four-star market. The hotel was originally built as an office block in the late 1970s. 

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