The drought seemed to hit Cape Town tourism hard — but a new report says hotels did okay

Business Insider SA
(Protea Hotels by Marriot)
  • A new report into SA's hotel market says the Cape Town drought didn't hurt the city's hotels all that much.
  • After growing more than 7% in 2016, the report says, guest nights in Cape Town still grew in 2017 – if only by 1%.
  • A decrease will only come if the drought continues this year, and tourism has proven resilient.

The drought in the Western Cape seemed to hit tourism hard, and data suggests hotels dropped their prices to keep rooms occupied as they took away bath plugs and urged guests to shower in short bursts.

But the actual impact on hotels may have been muted, a new report by PwC suggests.

Year on year guest nights at Cape Town hotels overall actually grew by 1%, says PwC's hospitality industry leader, Pietro Calicchio

See also: Western Cape hotels are now 11% cheaper than they were a year ago, while Gauteng rooms are pricier

Although there is no official data released on the impact of the drought just yet, Calicchio says his firm relied on reports sent to them by industry analysts on the hotel market.

Growth in guest nights came from more moderately priced three-star hotels, which posted a 3% increase compared to the overall 1% number.

Five-star hotels experienced a modest decline in guest nights in 2017 according to the report, in part because of slower growth in foreign tourism and also because of a double-digit increase in average daily rates.


Overall revenue from hotel room accommodation in SA rose by 4.6% to R16.6 billion in 2017 — with an increase of 2.4% in the number of international visitors to the country, according to the report.

Should the drought in the Cape not improve, PwC foresees a drop in guest nights this year.

A survey by Wesgro, Cape Town's official tourism promotion agency, found that January and February bookings for hotels surveyed were between 10% and 15% down when compared to the same period last year.

This will, however, be offset by growth in the overall tourism to South Africa, according to PwC.

"Tourism has again proven to be resilient in the face of economic and political uncertainty, the impact of the drought and regulatory changes," says Calicchio

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