Governmental body Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has released findings into the country’s tourism industry and, while there’s been some slight uptick, things still look dire.
The publication “Tourist accommodation, September 2020” can be found in full here (PDF), with a key findings section also available. It was released just today so we will need to wait a few months for further findings into October, November and later December of this year.
The slight increase can best be seen in this graphic provided by Stats SA. While not mentioned as a cause of these changes by name it’s clear to see how the South African lockdown levels have had an impact on these numbers.
We can see a decline when COVID-19 entered the public consciousness in the beginning of the year, and then a much larger decline when the initial lockdown happened around March. We can also see the increase in tourism happen around September, which makes sense as level 1 lockdown went into effect which allows governed travel and local tourism.
Again this has to be taken in the context of a massive downturn in the industry compared to previous years.
“Income from accommodation decreased by 72,9% year-on-year in September 2020, the result of a 65,3% decrease in the number of stay unit nights sold and a 22,1% decrease in the average income per stay unit night sold,” reads part of the findings from Stats SA.
These figures were drawn from surveys of tax registered organisations in both the private and public spaces which specialise in “short-stay commercial accommodation”. These are exactly the kind of enterprises which are used by both local and international tourists, and thus have suffered so much under the restriction of movement which the pandemic caused.
As South Africa and the rest of the world moves into the holiday season, it remains to be seen how these numbers will change and how this will affect the COVID-19 numbers in the country.
While vaccines are on the way and showing immense promise, there’s no definitive date for their public release and the allowance of free movement again.