Official figures are now clear – the tourism market is back on track. After a very challenging 2011, foreign tourists are travelling again, especially the high-end group.
Up to a month ago, there were a number of local commentators and bloggers who were disputing this fact vigorously At Abbey Manor the winter was especially kind to us (June/July at 50%), and spring has started strongly (August Sept and October above 70%, with lots of October to go.) We did think that much of the commentary reflected sour grapes. Anecdotally, through new hires and industry bodies, we know that the downturn was especially hard on many older and some brand-new establishments. Those dependant on the Jo’burg trade have been in dire trouble. Those that have failed to move into the new era, with instant bookings via the big online players, and good solid Tripadvisor ratings, frankly deserve to fail. It seems there are many in the latter camp.
The outcome is likely to be same as in past downturns: the weak will fail. The number of insolvencies is climbing, led by the R 580 m hole left by 15 onOrangein the property developer’s pocket. Many guesthouses are being sold as residential properties; a number of hotels are converting to office or residential.
The strong will survive. I’m happy to report that Abbey Manor will be here for many years still.