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Globall Economic Crisis and South African Tourism

Posted by {Whale Cottage Camps Bay} on October 18th, 2008. Categories: {General}

The global economic crisis may not be such a bad thing for South African tourism after all, given its effect on the Rand exchange rates, and resultant greater affordability as a destination for international tourists.  Domestic tourism too should benefit from the exchange rate volatility, in that locals may switch to local holidays over the festive season, instead of going overseas.

Bookings remain very last-minute, making budgeting and staff scheduling difficult.

The outlook for 2009 and 2010 is favourable, given the Confederations Cup and British Lions Tour taking place in winter 2009, and the soccer World Cup taking place in winter 2010.  Winter traditionally is a very low income period for the Western Cape in particular.

The past week has seen the US dollar exceed R 10, its weakest ever,  and exchange rates of R 18 to the pound sterling and R 14 to the Euro.   It is the dollar exchange rate volatility that may cost the country a petrol price decrease next month, and also may see an interest rate increase instead of the hoped-for decrease.

The tourism industry appears to be optimistic to date about the effect of the international credit crunch.   Tourism Business Africa quotes Joop Demes of Pam Golding Hospitality as saying that the hotel market grew by 19% in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.  Growth is in Gauteng, and particularly for hotels at OR Thambo airport in Johannesburg.   Revenue per available room has increased by 16 %, and by 19 % for 5-star hotels, and by 25% in Johannesburg.  Demes says that about three-quarters of the country’s 57 000 hotel rooms are booked by locals, driven in particular by the MICE market of conferences and meetings, as well as budget holidays.

Southern Sun Hotels is confident enough to predict that 2009 will be busier than 2010, not only because of the Confederations Cup and British Lions Tour, but also due to the elections and inauguration of the new President, Soccerex, the Australian and English cricket tours, and the FIFA World Cup Final Draw, which takes place in Cape Town in December 2009, reports Travel News Weekly.   Southern Sun has contracted about 10000 of its rooms to MATCH, the FIFA accommodation agency, and is the single largest accommodation provider for the World Cup 2010.


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