In 2018, when the Rand was considerably stronger to the Euro local tour operators, lodges, hotels and safari parks raised their pricing to a level that far outstripped the country’s average inflation rate.
This meant that those of us sending tourists to South Africa paid a far higher price this year for the same product. In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons tourist numbers dropped this year.
Honestly, I hope South Africa will not follow the Namibian example where prices wee raised so much in 10 years that the destination is not affordable anymore for the same market that travelled to – and could afford the destination – five years ago.
The outlook for travel to South Africa from the Benelux countries in 2020 currently looks much better, thanks to a weaker Rand – and due to the fact that not all suppliers subscribed to the notion that the “sky is the limit” when it comes to pricing.
But do we all really want tourism numbers to SA to depend so strongly on the stength or the weakness of the local currency?
Can local suppliers not freeze prices next year in order to fill beds again? And why is low season in SA only a bit cheaper than high season? In Europe prices easily drop more than 50% in low season in order to draw increased tourist numbes.
Europeans will not want to travel in June to a country with short daylight and low temperatures, when they enjoy high summer in their home countries…except if travelling to SA is much cheaper at that time of the year. Then there will be ample opportunities during the South African winter period.
Almost 90% of our customers say wildlife is their number one reason to visit SA. Further to that of course there is the appeal of good accommodation, good food and wine and wide open landscapes.