ROBUST: SA’s tourism sector is doing well. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
The tourism business index showed signs of a turnaround in December benefitting from robust festive season trading and the hosting of the COP17 climate change conference.
The latest results of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) tourism business index released on Monday showed stronger performance.
Mmatsatsi Marobe, CEO of the TBCSA, said the index results were encouraging.
“Considering the index had been on a steady decline since the start of 2011, it is encouraging to see that we ended the year on a more positive note. We hope this is a trend that will continue in 2012, despite the ongoing economic hurdles,” she said.
The index said accommodation and other tourism business sectors performed better than anticipated, with the results of the accommodation sector showing a near return to normal operating levels.
TBCSA, however, said expected business performance is still a modest 82.2 for the first quarter of 2012.
“The surge in domestic leisure business over the festive season and the recent hosting of COP17 have provided a much-needed boost to business performance in quarter four of last year, but the index also indicates that industry still has a realistic view of the challenges that lie ahead,” explained Gillian Saunders, head of advisory services at Grant Thornton.
Pieter de Bruin, head of industry sales at First National Bank, said the country’s capabilities of hosting global events was significant to the index.
“The latest result of the tourism business index again shows that there are always different cycles in business, such is the importance of South Africa being an events destination and having a healthy domestic tourism market. We trust this may be the first sign of the industry making the turn into positive territory.
“When we launched the tourism business index project in 2010, one of the key objectives was to develop a business tool that would produce relevant information that would assist us in mapping out a clear picture of general health of our industry,” said Marobe.
“At this point, the index is showing positive signs of progress. However, it also highlights the important role the domestic and regional markets can play in boosting tourism trade.”
Marobe urged the private sector to “go a little further” in catering for the domestic and regional markets, by actively engaging these markets and developing suitable packages that still offer value for money. “At this point, renewed focus on these markets might just be industry’s solution for sustaining growth in the long term.”
The tourism business index is an initiative of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, sponsored by First National Bank and compiled by Grant Thornton.
The index provides a national indication of the current and future performance across the various businesses operating within the SA travel and tourism sector.