The hotel industry in South Africa is poised for growth, says Tourism Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.
Speaking at the Hotel Show held in Johannesburg on Sunday, Deputy Minister Thabethe said according to the 2016 hospitality report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, the number of available hotel rooms will rise at a 0.8% compound annual rate to 63 700 in 2020, from 61 100 in 2015.
The report projects that bed-night stays will increase at a 1.9% compound annual rate to 14.6 million in 2020, from 13.3 million in 2015.
Overall hotel room revenue is expected to expand at a 7.8% compound annual rate to R20.6 billion in 2020, from R14.2 billion in 2015.
Deputy Minister Thabethe said South Africa now has 118 869 star graded rooms across approximately 5354 accommodation establishments, including hotels, lodges and B&Bs.
“The growth in overseas arrivals, the increase in the number of star graded establishments, and the range of accommodation options on offer indicates that our destination is perfectly suited to meet the needs and budgets of our visitors.
“We are confident that there is potential for even further growth in tourism in our country,” the Deputy Minister said.
She said when it comes to business events, African destinations are fast earning their rightful place as host destinations.
“African destinations offer the world exceptional, unfiltered, life-inspiring authentic experiences. From our history and heritage to the wildlife and natural beauty – Africa never fails to create a lasting impression on travellers from across the globe,” Deputy Minister Thabethe said.
She said in 2010, South Africa proved naysayers wrong and earned its stripes and successfully hosted the World Cup which was a first for the African continent.
“The great experiences that the soccer fans and visitors had during that time have converted them to regular tourists to our country. We must make every effort to continue hosting shows like this in South Africa,” she said.
She said tourism operators must keep abreast of tourists needs, especially as their needs change in the rapidly developing technology space.
“We have to make sure that we provide guests with exceptional products and excellent service,” she said.
The Department of Tourism is training and upskilling people in the industry to deliver on this promise, across all touch points of the consumer journey.
“Government and industry must continue to work together to make the tourism sector a leading example of radical economic transformation,” Deputy Minister Thabethe said.
The Tourism BBEEE Charter Council has made good progress in formulating a plan to transform tourism.