Durbs does it for most

20 December 2012 - 02:06 By NIVASHNI NAIR and NASHIRA DAVIDS
FAVOURITE PLAYGROUND: The Durban beachfront. Hotels are burning with domestic tourists
FAVOURITE PLAYGROUND: The Durban beachfront. Hotels are burning with domestic tourists

THE sun continues to shine on Durban and Cape Town's hospitality industry but the mother city is not likely to have record arrivals this holiday season.

Durban, a popular playground for domestic tourists, has had 25000 arrivals daily since the start of the festive season, despite deadly flash floods a week ago.

The head of Durban's tourism unit, Philip Sithole, said between 85% and 100% of the city's more than 22000 beds were booked.

In Cape Town, which traditionally attracts international visitors, average occupancy rates for December and January are expected to be more than 70%, according to a study commissioned by Cape Town Tourism.

"Even though we are optimistic about the tourism outlook for this peak season, and there is a tangible presence of visitors in the streets, shopping malls, and many of our top attractions, are not expecting a record season of arrivals and bookings," said Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold.

Americans, Britons, Germans and the Dutch make up most of the international visitors to Cape Town but there has been an increase in tourists from Scandinavia and Asia.

Du Toit-Helmbold said she expected a modest increase of 4% in domestic and international travellers compared with last year. This increase is on a par with international tourism growth as predicted by the UN.

"Feedback from tourism establishments is that visitors are booking shorter stays, mostly between the third week of December and early January, and negotiating hard on price," she said.

The study showed that the highest average room rate, R1093, will be reached this month and that self-catering establishments will probably record the highest occupancy rate of 86.1% this month.

In Durban, Sithole said: "We expect the spending this festive season to be around R2-billion. Hotels have reported that they are fully booked on most days.

"People come back here because of the hospitality, the number of events planned over the festive season and the predictable weather, which is always sunny."

Warren Ozard, East Coast operations manager for the Federated Hospitality Association, said hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses were full.

"Everyone is happy because schools start later next year, which means that holidaymakers can stay in the province until January 6," he said.

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