JOHANNESBURG – Local tourism has hit a slump. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says domestic tourists have been reprioritising their spending, largely due to the slow economic growth.
The decrease was seen mostly in the higher and lower income earners while middle-income earners still have the travel bug.
Domestic tourism is dipping.
Data released by Statistics South Africa shows that high and low-income earners travelled less in 2016 compared to 2015.
But mid-income earners are yet to show signs of slowing down.
And even though there’s a decline in the number of higher income earners travelling, this group still travels one and a half times more than other groups.
The decline in domestic travel is largely brought on by the anaemic economic growth and some levels of uncertainty.
“The reasons for not travelling are clear, people are not travelling because they are feeling the pinch, therefore they are less likely to spend, so we can see the drop in the budget for travelling….a significant from 2013,” said Statistician General, Pali Lehohla.
Travelling for leisure or visiting family and friends has dropped.
But events-driven travel, like funerals, is up from 6.3 percent in 2015 to 8.2 percent in 2016.
Lehohla said demographic profiles determine how often and for what purpose people travel.
Overnight trips are up to R63-billion last year compared to R62-billion in 2015.
This was as a result of increased spending by higher income earners.
Gauteng, Limpopo and Western Cape are still the most travelled provinces during the day whilst Limpopo, KZN and Eastern Cape remain popular for overnight trips.
The Hospitality Association of Southern Africa says its members are feeling the pinch.
“We have seen certain members closing down but not the big hotels, we have seen BnB’s ….we have also seen an impact of this on smaller companies that do catering..” said Fedhasa’s chief executive officer’s Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.