Although the holiday season has just begun, South Africa is already starting to see an influx of tourists, with Statistics South Africa’s most recent Tourism and Migration Survey revealing that almost 3,5 million travellers passed through South African ports of entry in August 2017 - 97% of whom were in the country for a holiday.
With even more tourists expected over the coming months, how does the hospitality industry cope?
Sigal Geva, COO at Premier Hotels & Resorts shares: “Throughout the year, players in the hospitality industry work to ensure that their properties are in peak condition and are able to cater for the end-of-year inundation of holidaymakers. For us, this has meant spending R86 million on renovating popular holiday destinations in our portfolio such as Premier Hotel Cape Town and Premier Resort Sani Pass.
"These refurbishments have included the addition of rooms, the introduction of new entertainment facilities and remodelling of on-site restaurants to ensure that we are well-equipped to receive the annual deluge of guests, whilst providing them with a World Class African experience.”
She continues: “Some hotel groups also expand their portfolios with the acquisition of additional properties in sought-after vacation spots in order to accommodate the abundance of guests expected at this time of year. Premier Hotels & Resorts, for instance, has recently acquired two hotels, The Cutty Sark Hotel in Scottburgh and Stanville Hotel in Bloemfontein – taking our complement to 18 across the country. These will also be remodelled to increase the number of rooms and improve the facilities available.”
“More guests mean that more staff are required. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Manpower Group’s Employment Outlook Survey for Q4 2017 anticipates an increase in opportunities for job seekers in the hospitality sector,” says Geva. “While having an adequate number of employees is important, a competent workforce is crucial for delivering the customer service excellence that impresses guests and keeps them coming back year after year. For this reason, we place priority on providing employment to learners from Academic College South Africa – a leading hospitality training institute.”
“With the number of foreign overnight visitors to South Africa expected to increase by 5.6% and domestic tourism predicted to rise by 2.2% this year*, having prepared all year long, the hospitality sector is set to survive and thrive during the holiday season,” concludes Geva.