Underberg is an administrative town in a dairy and cattle farming community in the Mzimkulu River valley of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is situated at the foot of the 1,904 m Hlogoma Peak in the foothills of the southern Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal. Tourism is the second biggest industry, as Underberg provides a large variety of tourism offerings, as a gateway to the Southern Drakensberg. The Southern Drakensberg Community Tourism Organisation was established by the community in 2007 and serves to promote tourism under the Southern Berg Escape brand. Underberg offers a variety of accommodation and eatery options, mostly of casual nature to suit most tastes. Splashy Fen and Sani2C both take place in the area. File Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/ African News Agency (ANA)
Underberg is an administrative town in a dairy and cattle farming community in the Mzimkulu River valley of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is situated at the foot of the 1,904 m Hlogoma Peak in the foothills of the southern Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal. Tourism is the second biggest industry, as Underberg provides a large variety of tourism offerings, as a gateway to the Southern Drakensberg. The Southern Drakensberg Community Tourism Organisation was established by the community in 2007 and serves to promote tourism under the Southern Berg Escape brand. Underberg offers a variety of accommodation and eatery options, mostly of casual nature to suit most tastes. Splashy Fen and Sani2C both take place in the area. File Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/ African News Agency (ANA)

Hospitality association disagrees with Stats SA tourism figures that show numbers are up

By Anelisa Kubheka Time of article published Sep 21, 2021

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DURBAN - THE Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) disagreed with Statistics SA’s tourism accommodation July figures that were released recently.

Stats SA said the July figures showed an increase in the total income for the tourism industry when compared to last year.

However, Fedhasa felt that these figures could not be compared to last year.

Stats SA measured in nominal terms (current prices) and said the total income for the tourist accommodation industry increased by 121.8% in July compared with July last year.

“That’s a zero sum game unfortunately. The figures for the three months up to July 2020 are horrendous and there’s just no way to make it pretty. You can't compare back to those figures,” said Fedhasa East Coast chairperson Brett Tungay.

“All we can do as an industry is compare them to the same period in 2019. I know just from feedback from members and the trade at this stage, that everybody is still trading down on the 2019 figures virtually across the board.”

Tungay said that in general, accommodation occupancy revenue was down still on 2019 figures.

“Figures comparing back to last year are pointless. Unfortunately, we have to compare everything back to pre-Covid. As the tourism industry, we need to get back to the 2019 figures and then of course grow on that. That’s challenging but hopefully with the correct marketing going through, we can achieve that.”

The results presented by Stats SA were derived from the monthly survey of the tourist accommodation industry. “This survey is based on a sample drawn from the 2019 business sampling frame that contains businesses registered for value added tax,” read the Stats SA publication.

This survey covered short-stay commercial accommodation such as hotels, motels, inns, caravan parks, camping sites, guest houses, guest farms and “other” accommodation.

Stats SA said that income from accommodation increased by 237.3% year-on-year in July this year, the result of a 226.8% increase in the number of stay unit nights sold and a 3.2% increase in the average income per stay unit night sold.

Stay unit nights sold means the total number of stay units (ie unit of accommodation such as a hotel room) occupied on each night during the survey period.

“In July 2021, all accommodation types recorded large positive year-on-year growth in income from accommodation. The largest year-on-year increase in income from accommodation was reported by caravan parks and camping sites (2 987.5% and contributing 13.0 percentage points).”

It said that income from accommodation increased by 589% in the three months ended July this year compared with the three months ended July 2020.

“The main contributors to this increase were: hotels (457.3% and contributing 250.6 percentage points); and ‘other’ accommodation (682.6% and contributing 285.3 percentage points).

“Seasonally adjusted income from accommodation decreased by 36.8% month-on-month in July this year. The largest negative month-on-month growth rates were recorded for: guest houses and guest farms (-61,6%); hotels (-42,2%); and ‘other’ accommodation (-29,6%).”

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