“Tourism still in doldrums”, say experts, and will be for rest of year

A newly launched TBCSA FNB Tourism Business Index shows conditions in tourism to still be depressed, and there is little confidence that trading conditions will improve for the rest of 2011, reports Business Day, with the headline “Tourism still in doldrums – new index”.

Initiated by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, and sponsored by FNB, utilising the advisory services of tourism consultancy Grant Thornton, the Tourism Business Index was developed to “provide a clearer picture of the performance of the tourism industry for investors”.  “The index will keep the business community at large well informed on the current and likely future performance of the sector”, said Mmatsatsi Marobe, the CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.   Seventy tourism business leaders were polled in the last quarter of last year, in order to develop the index result.   

The first Tourism Business Index scored 89,4 %, and is expected to have a similar score for the second quarter of this year.  An index of 100 would signify ‘normal trading conditions’, signalling that the tourism ‘business environment is negative’, the report says.   The accommodation sector was particularly negative and depressed about future trading conditions.  The performance of the last quarter of 2010 was weaker than the two quarters preceding it, the Tourism Business Index showed, reports Southern African Tourism Update.

The Tourism Business Index is aimed at providing not only an update of business sentiment in the tourism industry, but also to position the tourism industry as an important sector of the economy, said Gillian Saunders of Grant Thornton, the consultant who vastly over-predicted the number of international visitors to South Africa during the World Cup.   FNB says its role is to help the tourism industry ‘become world class’.

From a research perspective, one hopes that the Tourism Business Index will expand its sample size, will include non-Tourism Business Council members, smaller accommodation establishments such as guest houses, and also will include more respondents from other tourism sub-sectors. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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