Tourism data shows industry making steady gains from last year
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THE TOURISM industry in June continued making gains from last year’s Covid-19-induced lockdown effects, but the momentum of the recovery slightly slowed due to restrictions.
Data from Statistics SA (StatsSA) yesterday showed that income for tourist accommodation increased by 1 012.4 percent in June.
This was a significant rise compared with the same month a year ago when the country was on a complete lockdown level 5, enabling low statistical base effects to boost the June reading.
In June, all accommodation types recorded large positive year-on-year growth in income from accommodation.
The largest increases were reported by caravan parks and camping sites and guest houses and guest farms.
Hotel occupancy rates, which make up the largest portion of the tourist accommodation sector, fell to 21.7 percent in June from 24.2 percent in May.
Pent-up demand by domestic households with accumulated savings is thought to have helped keep operators in the tourism sector afloat in the absence of adequate international tourist arrivals.
StatsSA said income from accommodation was boosted by a 652.4 percent year-on-year rise to R792.3 million in June, down from R841.2m in May.
On a quarterly basis, income from accommodation increased by 1 378.3 percent to R2.652 billion in the second quarter of 2021 compared with the second quarter of 2020.
On a monthly basis, income from accommodation declined by 5.3 percent in June as tighter lockdown measures were enforced mid-month to curb the rising third wave, with an earlier curfew time stipulated.
To further the industry’s troubles, adjusted lockdown level 4 came into effect in late June. These restrictions prohibited interprovincial leisure travel to and from Gauteng, banned the sale of alcohol once again and enforced an early curfew.
Investec economist Lara Hodes said the tourism sector remained depressed in June.
She said that a number of South Africa’s key tourism markets still advised against travel to the country and had strict laws with regard to quarantining for those returning from it, which was a significant deterrent.
“Specifically, foreign travellers are opting to rather travel closer to home and to countries with high vaccination rates,” Hodes said
“The unrest in the country will also have negatively affected South Africa’s brand.
“Indeed, political and economic stability coupled with a hastened vaccination roll-out is imperative to boost confidence and attract visitors.”