South Africa’s tourism and hospitality sector is seeing signs of recovery.
StatsSA reported a second consecutive month of growth, in its Accommodation and Food and Beverage performance reports.
Many in the industry are hopeful the growth seen in the past two months will continue as we head into the festive season.
“The hospitality industry is clawing its way back to being a viable industry once again, with businesses putting in significant capital to market themselves in an effort to secure these increases,” said the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) chairperson Rosemary Anderson.
September 2021 saw the accommodation sector record positive year-on-year growth in income.
Fedhasa believes the positive balance sheets are because of support from the South African public and growing international tourism arrivals.
The largest positive month-on-month growth rates were recorded for guesthouses and guest farms (30.3%), hotels (21.5%) and other accommodation (19.4%).
StatsSA’s Food and Beverages’ key report for September 2021 shows the total income generated by the industry increased by 23.4% in September 2021 compared with September 2020.
The largest annual growth rate was recorded for food sales (27.1%).
Last September, the main contributors to the 23.4% year-on-year increase were restaurants and coffee shops, as well as takeaway and fast-food outlets.
“This upward trajectory will only continue if the industry is not hamstrung by renewed regulations such as those imposed over last year’s festive season,” said Anderson.
“It is our fervent appeal to the government to use all other measures available to stem a possible wave,” stressed Anderson.
She said shutting down the hospitality sector this festive season would be catastrophic as hospitality businesses are trying to return to some level of financial stability.
Anderson and others in the sector are right to be nervous. The predicted fourth wave has already arrived in Europe, with some countries going back into lockdown and imposing partial lockdowns aimed at unvaccinated people.
“Consistency remains key to the survival of the hospitality industry. Ever-changing regulations dampen demand and while we recognise and are committed to fighting Covid-19, we also understand that it is largely in the hands of ordinary South Africans who we urge to get vaccinated and adhere to the health and hygiene protocols to reduce pressure on our healthcare system,” said Anderson.
“This will go a long way in safeguarding the positive trajectory the hospitality industry is seeing as the government will not be required to impose restrictions that will hamper operations and prevent us from staying open, securing livelihoods and retaining jobs at the time of year when we are busiest,” she concluded.
(Compiled by Narissa Subramoney)