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South African Tourism Income Continues Slump

A recent report from Statistics South Africa has revealed that the total income for the tourism sector has decreased by as much as 72.8% in the first three months of 2021.

Commercial People has learned that according to the most recent data shown by the national statistical service of South Africa, the total income for tourist accommodation throughout the country decreased by 45,3% in March 2021 compared with March of the previous year.

As shown in the image above, January 2021 saw total income decreased by -72.8% (year on year). February reached similar numbers at -72.6%, with March also producing a decrease – albeit at a far less drastic pace than the proceeding months.

The dour figures should come as no surprise as South Africa is still in the middle of an economic downturn due to the ravenous impact COVID-19 has had on the country.

South Africa is mainly reliant on tourism from the Netherlands (which has imposed a flight ban on South Africa until June 1st) the UK and the US – with the latter also advising against all travel to the country due to what the CDC refer to as ‘very high levels of COVID-19’.

Despite income from the tourism sector decreasing, salaries for large companies in South Africa are reportedly edging closer to levels before the pandemic struck.

According to the Take-home Pay Index by BankservAfrica – Africa’s leading automated clearing house, salaries that went through their banking system increased by 2.2% after inflation.

Mike Schüssler, Chief Economist at, said: “Our April 2021 data, which underrepresents small firms and does not measure the informal market, shows the private sector is ‘normalising’ in salary and employment terms. Although our data cannot project the unemployment rates, we are convinced that large private sector employment is close to recovery at 95% and returning to levels before the pandemic.”

With vaccination rollout becoming more commonplace throughout the UK, the US and to a lesser extent, Europe, many of South Africa’s primary sources of tourism are primed to return sooner rather than later.

While nothing is guaranteed, if you’re looking to purchase a hotel or leisure property in South Africa now might be the most astute time to do so.

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