‘Tourism is booming again, we’re well placed to benefit’, says CEO of The Capital Hotels, and Apartments, and Resorts

The Capital Hotels, Apartments, and Resorts. Picture: Instagram

The Capital Hotels, Apartments, and Resorts. Picture: Instagram

Published Aug 30, 2023


The Department of Tourism’s latest report reveals that the country hosted a staggering two million visitors during the first quarter of 2023, following up on last year’s noteworthy 5.8 million visitors.

The recent surge in tourism from both domestic and international visitors holds the potential to usher in a period of notable prosperity across various sectors of the economy.

Additionally, foreign tourist spending during the first quarter of 2023 increased dramatically compared with the same period in 2022, demonstrating a strong recovery in the tourism economy – a substantial R25.3 billion in total.

The 143% increase highlights how much stronger the tourism industry is becoming again. It’s a sign that the industry is bouncing back energetically after the challenges of the past year.

Capitalising on this upward trend are businesses like The Capital Hotels, Apartments, and Resorts. Spearheaded by CEO Marc Wachsberger, the company’s strategic decisions during the pandemic are now proving to be shrewd investments.

Wachsberger said: “We’ve never been the type to waste a crisis. We used the pandemic as an opportunity to strengthen our position by investing in new acquisitions and builds. Now tourism is booming again, we’re well placed to benefit.”

Bouncing back from the pandemic

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, The Capital Hotels, Apartments, and Resorts made strategic choices. For instance, they successfully built a property in Mbombela during the pandemic, which now boasts an impressive 80% yearly occupancy rate.

This accomplishment highlights the limited hotel developments in the area since the 2010 Fifa World Cup, in contrast to competitors’ 53% occupancy rates.

Additionally, the group acquired a struggling property in KwaZulu-Natal during the pandemic and invested R100 million to restore its five-star status.

The outcome was positive, as The Capital Zimbali Resort now enjoys a yearly occupancy rate of 72%, featuring highly popular conference facilities and restaurants.

This growth led to the employment of an additional 150 staff members, without any job losses.

Another surprising aspect was the rise in travellers from other African countries. In the first quarter of 2023, African travellers collectively spent R9.3 billion, with six neighbouring countries ranking in the top 10 source markets.

Europeans contributed R10.8bn, while Americans spent R2.6bn – 28% more than their expenditure in 2019.

Marc Wachsberger

Business travel

The revival of business travel has brought about an increase in people needing places to stay and places to hold meetings in South Africa.

Because there’s more demand for rooms and meeting spaces but not a lot available, it’s helping the hospitality industry recover from the effects of Covid-19.

Hotel groups that have made smart investments in modern conference rooms, fast internet, and back-up plans for power cuts are now in a great position to benefit from future growth.

Not only work-related travel, but also trips that combine work and leisure, known as “bleisure”, are becoming more popular.

“The Capital 15 on Orange is another example of how our Covid acquisitions have come good for us. We spent R30 million getting it back to five-star standard including opening the new Grotto Spa.

“That property now trades at an annual occupancy of 76%, and is performing extremely well in conferencing, short-term letting and international travel markets,” explained Wachsberger.

The country’s natural wonders, from Table Mountain to the vibrant Kruger National Park, have become particularly appealing to international travellers seeking relief after an extended period of confinement.

The Capital Hotels, Apartments, and Resorts took the moment by intensifying their marketing endeavours, implementing advanced safety measures, and broadening their range of offerings to cater to the ongoing demand.

Instances such as The Capital Mbombela, The Capital Zimbali Resort, and The Capital 15 on Orange exemplify how the group has adeptly harnessed the dynamics of a pandemic, a devalued rand, and South Africa’s allure for both business and leisure voyagers.

These actions have fuelled substantial growth levels, poised to sustain and flourish in the times ahead.

As the tourism sector thrives, enterprises equipped with insightful business strategies stand to not only fortify their financial standings, but also contribute to the overall augmentation of the South African economy.