The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), in partnership with South African Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), is working with the travel trade – select establishments, airlines, agents and tour operators – to launch a domestic travel campaign titled SA is Home, with the aim of stimulating economic recovery and activity in the tourism sector.
The South African travel industry has increasingly relied on domestic tourists to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, which is estimated to have cost the sector R54.2 billion (€3.18bn) in income between mid-March 2020 and the end of May 2021. According to the IDC, for the year 2020, the sector faced a 75% revenue reduction, impacting more than 438 000 jobs.
Prior to the global pandemic, inbound tourism generated approximately R82.5 billion (€4.84bn) in direct foreign spend, contributing an equivalent of 9.2% of GDP. This positioned tourism as the second most important export sector in the economy in 2018. Domestic tourist activity contributed a further R9.49 billion (€557m) in direct expenditure.
“We recognise the importance of this sector to the country’s economic recovery and job creation prospects. The subsequent economic lockdowns significantly disrupted the growth momentum in the sector,” said IDC CEO, TP Nchocho, adding that the IDC’s travel campaign was primarily intended to encourage South Africans to explore their own ‘backyard’ and help stimulate activity and revival of the tourism sector.
As part of the campaign, travellers have an opportunity to secure holiday and leisure travel at a significantly discounted rate of up 35% to selected destinations spread 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, and this is more important, 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 reiterated IDC’s commitment to the sector, noting that the corporation would continue to support the recovery of domestic tourism industry through a number of structured interventions.
Amongst others, when the pandemic hit, the IDC unveiled a funding package, ringfencing R250m (€14.8m) from the COVID Relief fund in support of IDC investee companies in the 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,” said Nchocho.