16NovemberHarbourArch

Hard-hit hotels woo local guests

 

The tourism sector is looking to local travel to make up the revenue shortfall from the loss of international visitors this festive season, with some hotel groups offering specials over the peak holiday season.

This week President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled a new Radisson hotel at OR Tambo International Airport, a R545m investment for Ekurhuleni, but the chances of the hotel reaching capacity any time soon are slim.

Tim Cordon, area senior vice-president of the Radisson Hotel Group for the Middle East and Africa, said that after a strong January, February and March, SA's short and sharp lockdown hit the group's revenue by between 40% and 50%. Recovery is slow with occupancy in its 12 hotels in SA at 20% in September and now at just below 40%.

Andrew Widegger, CEO of the City Lodge Hotel Group, said revenue is ticking up along with increased occupancies, but is by no means at anywhere near pre-Covid levels. Only 40 of its 55 hotels in SA are open.

Blessing Manale, spokesperson for the department of tourism, said SA will miss out on international visitors in November this year, but he remains positive that tourists from abroad will start coming in December and next year. From January to September 2020, the number of international tourist arrivals fell by about 67.9%.

Cordon said interest in travel to SA is high based on internet searches from prospective tourists, but the level of bookings is low. He attributes this to travellers being concerned that they may get "stuck in South Africa" as restrictions in Europe tighten.

Not all visitors are welcome as yet.

The department of home affairs' current list of countries from which visitors are restricted includes Germany, India, the Philippines, Russia, Brazil, Spain, Canada, the UK, Chile, Italy, US, France and the Netherlands.

According to the home affairs website, business travellers, holders of critical skills visas, investors and people on international missions in sports, arts, culture and science as well as tourists who will stay in the country for three months or longer are exempt.

Cordon said government support such as payroll protection has been helpful, but the group needs to ensure that its cash reserves are not drained and that the next crisis is not a solvency issue. "We need to take whatever business we can and manage costs accordingly," he said.

Radisson is looking for revenue from opportunities presented by the pandemic, as well as to local travellers, to patch the revenue shortfall. For example, the Radisson Group kept its 12 properties open and has hosted oil rig workers who were required to be in quarantine, football league players and emergency government call centres.

The group is launching a "staycation" campaign this weekend to promote local travel.

The City Lodge Group is also vying for local tourists by dropping its rates.

Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, chief operating executive for the City Lodge Group, said it continued to offer its discounted Covid-19 rates. A room at a Courtyard hotel is priced from R1,210 a night, three-star City Lodge hotels from R1,035, and two-star Town Lodges from R870 - single or double.

The group's year-end Summer Special promotion, which provides discounted rates to guests for a Friday, Saturday and Sunday night booking, has been extended to weekdays from December 1 2020 to January 31 2021.

This article was first published by Times Live on the 11 November 2020. 

Latest Articles

Interview: South African Techpreneur Aisha Pandor Out to Sweep Kenya

04/01/2021

Aisha Pandor-SweepSouth Cofounder and CEO. Determined to link homeowners to cleaners and eradicate the plights they faced came the inception of Sweepsouth. The online platform, which began with the home-cleaning service, is now operating in 4 major cities in South Africa, Nairobi and a future expansion to West African countries in the works.   Women’s…

Read More

Litigation funding: Pioneering an alternative asset class in South Africa

04/01/2021

Provided By Taurus Capital 18 Mar 2021 Litigation funding occurs when a third party, with no direct interest in a legal case, finances the legal costs in return for a share of the claim proceeds if successful. “This form of finance allows proceedings to be pursued which otherwise would be hindered by a claimant’s lack of…

Read More

50th South African school now water-secure thanks to Woolies Water Fund, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet

03/24/2021

Emafini Primary School in New Brighton, Gqeberha is the 50th school to receive a comprehensive water harvesting system from the Woolies Water Fund, helping them become water secure. The water harvesting system consists of two x 10 000l water tanks, gutters on the roof to channel the rain water into the tanks, a filtration system and large…

Read More

Interview: South African Techpreneur Aisha Pandor Out to Sweep Kenya

04/01/2021

Aisha Pandor-SweepSouth Cofounder and CEO. Determined to link homeowners to cleaners and eradicate the plights they faced came the inception of Sweepsouth. The online platform, which began with the home-cleaning service, is now operating in 4 major cities in South Africa, Nairobi and a future expansion to West African countries in the works.   Women’s…

Read More

Litigation funding: Pioneering an alternative asset class in South Africa

04/01/2021

Provided By Taurus Capital 18 Mar 2021 Litigation funding occurs when a third party, with no direct interest in a legal case, finances the legal costs in return for a share of the claim proceeds if successful. “This form of finance allows proceedings to be pursued which otherwise would be hindered by a claimant’s lack of…

Read More

50th South African school now water-secure thanks to Woolies Water Fund, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet

03/24/2021

Emafini Primary School in New Brighton, Gqeberha is the 50th school to receive a comprehensive water harvesting system from the Woolies Water Fund, helping them become water secure. The water harvesting system consists of two x 10 000l water tanks, gutters on the roof to channel the rain water into the tanks, a filtration system and large…

Read More

Aiming high: how to make investment choices in the cannabis world

03/24/2021

Picking stocks in the cannabis space can be a daunting task, but what once used to be a very ‘out there’ sector is now whetting the appetite of investors. It all started in 2018, when Canada legalised recreational use, but the UK is becoming an increasingly fertile ground for the sector after the FCA allowed…

Read More