TOURISM: 'Fair' Summer Tourist Season Ahead
Recent Western Cape Business News
"Fair" is how the majority of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa Cape (FEDHASA Cape) members perceive the summer tourist season that lies ahead for the period December 2010 until end February 2011. This is according to an informal survey conducted among the hospitality industry body's members. The majority of respondents are hotels (27 of the total 44 responses), with 13 of the small accommodation members and 4 of the restaurants and catering members having responded.
FEDHASA Cape Chairperson Dirk Elzinga notes: "What is really encouraging is that only one respondent perceives the season ahead as being 'poor'. As usual, nobody in this industry should bury their head in the sand: as long as we collaborate to creatively address any perceived challenges that may lie ahead - as outlined by FEDHASA Cape's Segment Chairpersons in this media statement - we will continue to be resilient and can look forward to the perceived fair summer season that we are virtually upon."
Speaking for the organisation's Restaurants and Catering segment, Rey Franco, who also serves as Elzinga's Deputy Chairperson, says, "Looking at the restaurant industry as a whole in the Western Cape, there has been a marked improvement of patrons through the doors of most operations over the last few weeks. This includes a reasonably good percentage of foreign tourists. The levels, however, are still not near the capacity normally expected at this time of the year. Consumer spending in terms of retail expenditure is expected to be at an all time low this festive season. These forecasts have a negative impact on the tourism and hospitality industry in terms of the link in normal spending. There are positive outlooks stemming from a number of hotel operators and this shows a sporadic pattern. It is imperative that accommodation establishments are sensible with rate offerings in this price sensitive market. Restaurant operators who continue to offer value-for-money options, combined with true service and hospitality experiences, are the ones who will realise better business levels. Our local trade must be looked after. We can expect the normal casualty rate of closures as well as the normal rate of new openings to which we have seasonally become accustomed."
Roy Davies heads up the Hotels segment within FEDHASA Cape. He says: "While bookings may be down, lead time to bookings has shrunk further. Cape Town will offer good value for money over the festive season and with a bit of shopping around, travellers will be spoiled for choice. There is also more variety in the types of establishments and activities compared against last year. Following on from the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, there is more infrastructure available to provide for the increase in activities."
Carole Armstrong-Hooper Chairs FEDHASA Cape's Small Accommodation (guesthouses and B&B's) segment. She says, "There is no doubt that guests are booking later. Empty rooms are being filled by business travelers provided that the service and comfort levels are there and the price is right. Cape Town is hugely attractive. The television series "Germany's Next Top Models" was partly filmed here. Currently, there is so much good value to be had and we must all find creative ways to lure guests and keep them coming back. If you think out of the box via, not least, strategic partnerships, there is every reason that your establishment, too, can gain new business. There is a lot of movement in the market right now and it is up to each establishment to develop strategies that best suit their business and clientele. It is true that in many instances guesthouses are benefiting over hotels as people watch their pennies given the state of the world economy. Aside from guesthouses being relatively cost effective, guesthouses are most typically owner-managed and, as such, we are able to cut through potentially time consuming bureaucratic decision-making that larger establishments may by their very nature be subject to. The bottom line is that the industry as a whole must adapt to changing times and focus on trying to make the destination as attractive as possible.
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