Rising demand for hotel accommodation in Joburg
JOHANNESBURG’s status as an airline hub and more visitors from Africa have created more demand for accommodation in the city, with hotel occupancy rates beating the national average.
Statistics for the six months from January to June from consultants STR Global show occupancy rates grew by 11% in Johannesburg compared with national average of 8%.
Sandton topped the list as the best-performing node, showing a 6.3% increase in the average occupancy rate, while the East Rand was second.
Danny Bryer, director of sales, marketing and revenue for Protea Hotel Group, said Johannesburg had become an airline hub with corporate inbound travel from Africa and overseas growing steadily.
"There has been specific steady growth from Africa," Mr Bryer said.
Johannesburg Tourism Company acting CEO Phelisa Mangcu on Tuesday said this development was gratifying. "Just 18 months ago, Joburg was dealing with an overcapacity of rooms — affecting tourism businesses adversely. We would like to think that this positive result is due to all the tourism industry stakeholders marketing and selling destination Joburg effectively, given the challenging economic conditions in which we are all operating."
Tourist arrivals from regional African tourist markets achieved growth rates of 7,9%, with Angola up 48,5%, Nigeria growing 26,7% and Tanzania increasing 31,4%, the Department of Travel and Tourism said last month.
Cape Town was a little behind the national average with occupancy rates growing 7% and the average room rate growing at 1.6%. Mr Dryer attributed the lag in Cape Town to a slowdown in both long-haul tourism and government travel.
King Shaka International Airport in Durban had made Umhlanga the Sandton of Durban with revenue per available room (Revpar) growing 14.2% (Durban 8.8%).
Revpar is a measure the hotel industry uses to calculate daily sales by multiplying the occupancy rate with the average daily rate for a room.
STR Global, which tracks hotel performances worldwide, said average room rates in South Africa showed growth of 3.5% and the number of rooms available declined by 0.5%.
"It is still an extremely challenging business environment and the next six months will still be tough," Mr Dryer said.
Hotels not geared correctly would feel the pain the most, he said.
There was still huge potential for growth from the meetings and conventions market but significant improvement had been made in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, he said.
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