29/12/2017 07:37 SAST | Updated 29/12/2017 07:37 SAST

Domestic Tourism On The Decline Over The Festive Season

Tourists are heading to Cape Town and Durban, but the rest of the country is not a popular destination.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Lion's Head in Cape Town. August 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Tourism in Cape Town and Durban over the festive season is booming, but the rest of the country is not receiving its slice of the pie, Fin24 reported on Friday.

According to this report, South African Tourism says there are a variety of reasons why the rest of the country is not popular for tourists over the festive season.

SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona told Fin24 that these included high fuel prices, the fact that information about travel packages elsewhere in the country was not widely known, and overseas tourists also pouring into the country in December, which raises prices and makes travelling unaffordable for locals.

Tourism reportedly contributed R402-billion to South Africa's GDP in 2016, but domestic tourism has declined over recent years. Local spending on travel declined from R110-billion in 2014 to R87-billion in 2016, mostly because of financial strains on domestic travellers.

The national tourism sector strategy, approved by cabinet in December, predicted that sluggish economic growth and a weak rand could boost domestic tourism, according to Business Day. The previous strategy, adopted in 2010, predicted an uptick in domestic trips from 2009-2015, but the opposite occurred.

A survey in 2015 showed that the main reason South Africans did not travel domestically were: time constraints, unemployment, a dislike of travelling, and not having a reason to do so, Business Day reported.

The City of Cape Town has put extra measures in place to ensure that its tourism figures would take a knock because of its water crisis, News24 reported. These included distributing 2,300 low-flow shower heads to guesthouses and Airbnb owners, in partnership with CapeNature and Airbnb. City authorities have also reportedly distributed 20,000 hand sanitisers around the city.

But Durban has also faced a water problem over the festive season –– according to News24, the Albert Falls Dam is just 20 percent full, and the Umgeni water system is just over 50 percent full. Despite this, the local tourism department was said to be optimistic about Durban's tourism prospects over the festive season.