Here’s why you should travel local this winter, writes Sonya Schoeman
Last August, 3.5 million travellers passed through South Africa’s ports of entry, according to Stats SA’s latest tourism and migration report. This is an increase of 14 per cent compared to August 2015. For the same period, the number of overseas tourists increased by 22,6 per cent, and research showed that the overwhelming majority were here for a holiday. Globally, the United Nations World Trade Organisation reported that international travel grew by four per cent in the first half of 2016. Mostly, the growth came from China and the United States thanks to their strong currencies, but Russia and Brazil showed the opposite: a drop in outgoing tourism, attributed to ‘challenging economic constraints and depreciated currencies’. Sound familiar? In the current climate, we can expect a similar trend: South Africans will most likely be able to afford overseas travel less. This usually has an upside, though, of increasing local travel. Which brings me to our 22 Superb Winter Deals story (page 58). Every winter, many hotels anticipate a drop in occupancy rates and put together attractive deals to woo travellers to their beds. Some provinces, such as temperate KwaZulu-Natal, have little need to do it because, as more than one self-satisfied hotelier from the region said to me, they’re full all-year round. This year, to my surprise, some top-end Western Cape and Limpopo properties said the same thing – they simply had no availability, and also that local visitors had increased. The rise in international tourist numbers and increase in domestic tourism points to one thing: the winter rate phenomenon won’t last forever. At some point, as the demand for bed nights continues to grow, there will be no ‘low season’. So why not take advantage of the deals we’ve found for you this winter? There are some excellent ones – plus, we’ve negotiated extra discounts on the winter discounts just for our readers. Go on. Grant yourself a mid-year treat!
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