Tourism Month – the good news

It’s Tourism Month, and amid the gloom and doom, it’s heartening that there is some good news. 

In ‘Travel Industry Continues Upward Climb Despite US Credit Downgrade’ – published on hospitalitynet.org – we read that “Global business travel net revenue grew by +12.2% in July, while global leisure travel revenue increased +8.6%, according to data released from Pegasus Solutions (the world’s single largest global processor of hotel transactions) in The Pegasus View. The report, which includes extra analysis of daily bookings through August 14, shows resiliency in both the corporate and leisure markets despite the US credit downgrade by the S&P on August 5.” 

What is most interesting about this report is what it had to say about corporate travel: 

“The corporate travel recovery continued in July in the face of uncertainty about the financial markets regarding the August 2 US debt default deadline. Bookings grew by +5.8% over 2010, while global average daily rates (ADR) gained momentum over June’s pace, rising by +6.0% over prior year. Mike Kistner, chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions, said the fickleness of the financial markets failed to make a marked impact on the industry. 

“‘Unlike events that may put the personal health and safety of travelers at risk, negative and uncertain financial news did not compel travelers to cancel planned trips, whether they had already booked or not,’ said Kistner. ‘Long-term strain could ultimately lead to a slow-down in the recovery, but in the short-term, it is events like earthquakes and hurricanes that will have the most immediate effect on bookings, though on a more regionalized level. It is good news for the travel industry that travelers failed to ‘catch’ the nervousness of investors.’” 

Obviously this bodes well for South African Tourism’s stated objective of creating a much needed conventions bureau for South Africa. 

But the truth is that many of us – and especially many readers of This Tourism Week – are small operators who rely heavily on leisure tourism, especially if we’re a bit removed from the main centres. 

Well, South African Tourism has an answer for this. 

In a recent YouTube message to the trade, SA Tourism’s CEO Timothy Scholtz said “What we’re finding now is that post the World Cup, there is an excess, and what we’d like to do is to fill that excess. And we believe that domestic tourism plays a big part in that. 

“ to create a culture of locals who travel. 

“Weekends, take a break, Sho’t Left campaign, all those things that we want to do to make sure that we can make that occupancy level more balanced – and not just over-rely on our international tourists.” 

In another, more general message about Tourism Month – which you’ll find here – Mr. Scholtz discusses the vision for the project. 

“Tourism Month is a great opportunity. I think it’s also part of a celebration that we have to do to make sure that we know that we’re working hard… [it’s time] to say let’s get our things together, let’s galvanise us around … a common goal to make sure that, over a period of time, we can really be a first world destination.” 

“I mean, our whole vision of being a top twenty destination in twenty years time – let’s work towards that as a collective and make sure that we are really top ranked in terms of showcasing to the world that we are a destination that should be embraced.” 

Indeed. 

Happy Tourism Month.

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