Do you remember last year how everyone was abuzz with the possibility of being able to hire out their own house as guest accommodation for the traveling masses looking to support their country in this year’s Soccer World Cup? The demand was so great that we were in a position to charge ludicrous rates to our Euro earning counterparts and actually get away with it too. I know I was considering this option, but, and there is always a but, Murphy decided to step in and slap the tourist industry in the face with his cold wet hand of reality. Yes ladies and gentlemen the recession happened to us for the first time since 1982, collapsing the foreign demand for hospitality and accommodation. So now after a year of penny-pinching, keeping our heads down and slogging through the toughest financial year in over a quarter of a century, we have resigned ourselves to the fact that the elusive golden egg so sought after by many of us ‘little guys’, will remain just that and kudos to the larger hotels and lodges that will in fact benefit during this time?
Well not necessarily. It seems that the hospitality industry is in a crisis too with the average occupancy rates of only 40%. The June-July holiday is traditionally the second busiest tourist season, especially for KZN with occupancy rates of up to 70%. FIFA’s official travel agent MATCH has been unable to sell 35% of the rooms it reserved in World Cup host cities and of course the locals have not booked their yearly getaway over this period either because of the World Cup, hiked traveling costs, supposedly booked out accommodation e.t.c. So Instead of bumper profits, hoteliers and guest houses face the prospect of a disastrous midyear season, with occupancies far lower than normal.
So my question to all South Africans is, do you feel like checking into a hotel over the June-July period, I’m sure you are going to get some great deals?