58 of Many – Youth Tourism is Key to Tourism Recovery

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58 of Many

Dear Youth Tourism Stakeholders,

As the Vice-Chair of the SATSA Youth Chapter, I have been able to collect valuable data from 58 of my industry peers and am taking this opportunity to share the insights with you, as disheartening as they are.

Firstly, my sincere thank you to everyone that responded to our survey and assisted us in collecting this valuable data.

Various sub-sectors of youth tourism participated in the survey, including accommodation, language schools, volunteering, international internships, tour operators and other tourism services.

Respondents covered backpacker lodges located along the most pristine parts of our Eastern Cape coastline to tourist guides in the Drakensberg and transport services which operate across the country.

Highlights of the research:

  • The 58 companies polled employ 1,079 people directly with an average number of employees per company of just over 18.
  • Of the 58 companies, 20 are 100% reliant on international travel.
  • These 58 companies generate R550 million in revenue per year.
  • 91% of that R550 million revenue is reliant on inbound travel.
  • If borders are not reopened, about 980 jobs will be in jeopardy.
  • Over 47% said they would be closed before October if urgent change does not happen.
  • Revenues for 2020 are expected to decline over 80% on last year – a decline of R460 million.

This shows our industry is facing imminent collapse, but we still have a chance to survive. To ensure there is a future for South Africa’s incredible tourism industry, and based on learnings from the strategies of neighbouring countries and global leaders, there are three things we need urgently to save jobs and businesses and protect livelihoods:

  • For government to truly acknowledge the industry. We are South Africans, just like you. We are eager to engage with government. Let us do this together. The current silence is deafening.
  • Provincial and international borders to be opened for safe travel, under strict health and safety protocols to ensure we balance lives with preserving livelihoods.
  • Forward guidance. Bookings have a lead time of around 60 days and, even with deposits paid in the interim, cashflow is key at the best of times. Without a scheduled date or minimum criteria for our borders to open, few are willing to commit to South Africa travel.

I believe the above are the start to getting South Africa back on the radar of those intrepid travellers who want to visit Africa.

Together, we can save these 58 companies, 1,079 livelihoods, and the many, many more outside this small snapshot of an industry on its knees.

Let’s invite our guests to take part in the recovery. Let them come see #southafricaistravelready.


Tim Louw

Vice-Chair, SATSA Youth Chapter

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