South Africa: The Tourist Accommodation Sector Is Still in Meltdown

The tourist accommodation sector generated about a third of the income in November 2020 that had flowed its way 12 months before.

Total income for the tourist accommodation industry fell 65.5% in November 2020 compared with the same month the previous year, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) said on Monday. That’s a dramatic decline and one that few sectors could withstand for a prolonged period.

In June of 2020, when some of the harshest lockdown restrictions had been lifted, but most travel curbs remained in place, the sector’s income plunged 95% — basically, a collapse. Since then, things have slowly improved, but remain pretty awful. In July, the year-on-year figure was 88.6% lower, in August 80.6% (See table). In September it was 72%, in October 66.3%.

Now we have the November data, which shows a 66.5% drop over 12 months. So one silver lining to take from the data is that the decline is being arrested — 66.5% is not nearly as bad as 95%. On the other hand, there was little difference between October and November, which signals that the pace of recovery, if it can be called that, is slowing.

December’s figures could show improvement, but the renewed lockdown…

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