South Africa's Tourism Income Wobbles As Strict Lockdowns and UK Red List Bite

A social grants queue in South Africa (file photo).
analysis

South Africa's tourism remains on its back after the strict Covid-19 lockdowns during the Northern Hemisphere summer and violent riots in July, worsening the hit the labour-intensive sector has taken from the country remaining on the UK red list.

Tourist accommodation income statistics released by Statistics South Africa on Monday showed seasonally adjusted income from accommodation plunged by 36.8% month-on-month in July, with guesthouses and hotels recording double-digit contractions, wiping out the increase from the first three months of the year.

Year-on-year, income from tourist accommodation was up 121.8%, the huge jump largely down to base effects, as July 2020 coincided with the strictest period of the lockdown when international borders were closed and interprovincial travel largely restricted.

July income was at R618-million compared with R183.4-million the year before. Compared with the 2019 figure for the same month, R2.3-billion, the lag is revealing.

Occupancy rates for hotels were 12.7.%, while guesthouses were at a lowly 7.9%. Total occupancy rate slumped to just 16% in July, from 21.8% in June.

With the UK government keeping South Africa on its Covid-19 red list, travellers who have been in SA in the previous 10 days will only be allowed back into the UK...

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