Experts said it was a good festive season for the tourism industry over December, despite the fourth wave of Omicron infections.
After the Christmas weekend, Johannesburg led the Gauteng statistics with the most infections of 444,710 positive cases reported followed by Ekurhuleni with 224,079 cases and Tshwane with 320,800 positive cases. Sedibeng recorded 66,916 cases while the West Rand recorded 61,475 positive cases.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom said the recorded cases were deceptively low because of the holidays and the lack of testing.
“But it does confirm the encouraging downward trend. I am concerned that cases may jump a bit in January as people return to Gauteng from other provinces,” he said.
Bloom said it was clear that there were a lot fewer hospitalisations and deaths than in previous waves.
DA shadow minister for tourism Manuel de Freitas said local domestic tourism showed recovery.
“Statistics showed people were travelling between provinces particularly from Gauteng going to the East Coast of KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.
The Federation Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) chair, Rosemary Anderson, said resorts and accommodation providers on the coast and inland were reporting very good occupancy rates over the festive season.
“We’re seeing the same level of optimism from restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs as locals celebrate the festive season. Hospitality stakeholders are also reporting there’s a much more uplifting atmosphere in their establishments,” she said.
Tourvest destination management CEO Martin Wiest said the tourism industry was supported by the domestic business in the metropolitan areas, the Garden Route and Cape Town.
“However, because of the structure of the tourism industries, many players were dependent on the inbound volume and the inbound volume were now experiencing below 10% of historic rates,” he said.