The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), in partnership with South African Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, have collectively launched a travel campaign aimed at stimulating economic recovery and activity in the tourism sector.
The campaign has been enabled through the bringing together of select establishments, airlines and tour operators.
The campaign, which was announced on August 4, comes after the impact of Covid-19, which was estimated to have cost the local tourism sector R54.2-billion in lost income between mid-March 2020 and the end of May last year.
In 2020, the sector faced a 75% revenue reduction, which impacted more than 438 000 jobs.
Prior to the global pandemic, inbound tourism generated about R82.5-billion in direct foreign spend – R126.7-billion in total – contributing about 9.2% of South Africa’s total gross domestic product (GDP). This positioned tourism as the second most important export sector in the South African economy in 2018. Domestic tourist activity contributed a further R9.49-billion in direct expenditure.
“We recognise the importance of this sector to the country’s economic recovery and job creation prospects. Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the numbers confirmed the importance of the sector in relation to GDP contribution. The subsequent economic lockdowns significantly disrupted the growth momentum in the sector,” IDC CEO TP Nchocho said.
He added that the IDC’s travel campaign was primarily intended to encourage South Africans to explore the country, helping to stimulate tourist activity and revive the tourism sector.
As part of the campaign, travellers will have the opportunity to secure holiday and leisure travel at a significantly discounted rate of up 35% to selected destinations across the country.
“We are delighted to present South Africans with an opportunity to explore the many tourism products that our country has to offer . . . especially as we emerge from economic lockdowns and travel bans imposed at the height of the pandemic from May 2020 up to August last year. We are hopeful that this campaign will also help the sector recover some of the jobs lost during lockdowns,” Nchocho said.
He noted that the IDC would continue with its initiatives to support the domestic tourism industry through various structured interventions.
Soon after the pandemic broke out, the IDC unveiled a funding package through which it ring-fenced R250-million from the Covid-19 Relief Fund in support of IDC investee companies in the tourism sector.
“As the economy opens up, we anticipate an increase in local travel across South Africa. Our investment in this initiative demonstrates our confidence in the tourism sector as a key contributor to South Africa’s economy,” Nchocho said.