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SA hotel occupancy drops from 60% to 17% since March - BDO SA

15 July 2020 12:36 PM

Christelle Grohmann doesn't believe industry can survive many more months and there are 1.5 million jobs in the tourism sector.

The state of South Africa's leisure travel sector is dire. Lockdown level 3 has not allowed for the reopening of leisure accommodation.

Refilwe Moloto talks to Christelle Grohmann, specialist tourism unit director at BDO South Africa.

How many travellers are usually in the country?

Normally South Africa sees about 28 million domestic trips and about 10 million international trips per year, says Grohman.

We would have had roughly about 900,000 international travellers a month into the market.

Christelle Grohmann, Specialist tourism unit director - BDO South Africa

There has always been a significant local leisure and business travel market that supports hotels and b&bs in the domestic market, she adds.

Bit she says, business travel, which is all that is currently allowed, is not enough to keep the establishments going especially for the larger ones.

Hotels are really not reaching economies of scale. So we've dropped from just below 60% occupancy in March to around 17% now.

Christelle Grohmann, Specialist tourism unit director - BDO South Africa

The figure of 17% is only for those hotels that are open. Many remain closed, she explains.

Combined with that, rates are also 30% lower.

Christelle Grohmann, Specialist tourism unit director - BDO South Africa

She says many in the industry are concerned the bank payment holiday and Ters relief payments are coming to an end.

For these operations that have managed to hold out, it's now D-Day.

Christelle Grohmann, Specialist tourism unit director - BDO South Africa

For retirees who sunk savings into a property for Airbnb for their monthly income, this also has serious ramifications, she says, so there is a knock-on effect beyond that which may have been foreseen.

The industry has developed the safety protocols that need to be in place and this information was sent to government.

We know it can be done safely....but it needs to open up now.

Christelle Grohmann, Specialist tourism unit director - BDO South Africa

She does not believe the industry can survive many more months.

Jobs in the tourism sector involve 1.5 million employees.

Listen to the interview below:


15 July 2020 12:36 PM

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