Accommodations and tour operators may have to hold their prices for 2020 into 2021 to appeal to clients.

During the SATSA ‘Runway to Recovery’ webinar focusing on the Garden Route and Western Cape on Wednesday – SATSA CEO, David Frost, posed a question to the panellists about pricing for a post-COVID market.

Frost said, due to the economic impact around the world, potential travellers might not have disposable income.

However, CEO of Premier Tours, Julian Harrison, responded that the declining value of the rand could work to South Africa’s advantage. With exchange rates of R19.90 to €1.00 and R18.40 to the US$1.00, South Africa remains an affordable destination.

He added that, despite this advantage, he wouldn’t recommend an increase in pricing – particularly as many clients had postponed this year’s trips to 2021.

Several webinar attendees commenting in the chat section said they would be retaining 2020 prices into 2021.

CEO of Tourvest Destination Management, Martin Wiest, addressed the issue of price freezing in his column in Tourism Update, saying how as a DMC it would recommend the price freeze for a number of reasons.

“Most importantly, many competitor destinations all over the world are waiting in the wings to literally have our breakfast once there is some level of international travel coming back,” said Wiest.

A complicating factor highlighted by SATSA Garden Route Chair and Sales & Marketing Director of Fancourt, Peter Dros, was that travel post-COVID might come with additional unexpected costs.

“Should a pre-booked guest be contained at an airport for showing signs of COVID-19, does the cost of the empty bed fall on to the guest or the establishment?” He added that including unnecessary terms to a booking would discourage clients from booking in the first place.