afrol News, 23 April - New statistics from South Africa show that hotels not yet are getting busier after the financial crisis. Fewer tourists are looking for cheaper accommodation in early 2010, compared to 2009.
According to the government agency Statistics South Africa, total income for the country's accommodation industry in February 2010 decreased by 2.8 percent compared with February 2009.
Breaking down the numbers, the industry's income from only accommodation in February 2010 decreased by 3.3 percent compared with February 2009. "This decrease was mainly due to a decrease of 3.6 percent in the number of stay unit nights sold during the same period," according to the government agency.
It is mainly accommodation aiming at foreign travellers contributing to the negative numbers. Hotels, guest-houses and guest-farms saw the largest drop in visitors. Camping sites and alternative accommodation saw an increase over the same period.
This decrease in tourists came at the same time as the South African tourism industry has invested large sums in expanding its capacity, awaiting the upcoming soccer World Cup. The number of stay units available has increased by 2.5 percent during the last year.
Also the related passenger transport is noting a continued crisis, according to Statistics South Africa. Revenues from passenger transportation for February 2010 decreased by 2.1 percent compared with February 2009.
However, land transportation is showing a recovery in South Africa, mostly due to an increase in South Africans travelling the country. The number of overland passengers for February 2010 increased by 3.4 percent compared with February 2009, with rail services seeing the largest growth.
South Africa, as a long-distance destination, has suffered greatly from the financial crisis and its negative influence on the tourism industry. The industry now pins it hopes on the World Cup, expecting good accommodation prices and fully booked hotels.
The new statistics nevertheless present a somewhat positive outlook for the industry. During the South African winter (May-September), the decrease in sold night units compared to the same month one year earlier had been much higher. May and July 2009 had seen a 12 percent decrease compared with 2008.
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