At World Travel Market, held in London last week, survey information was released that has severe repercussions for the local tourism industry, in demonstrating how cash-strapped the UK market remains, and how few British are planning to travel. The UK is the largest source market for tourism to our country, if one disregards cross-border visitors from Africa.
A World Travel Market survey found that a holiday no longer is a necessity for the British, 38 % not having taken a holiday this year, and 59 % have only taken one holiday this year, reports Southern African Tourism Update. It is the cost of taxes (the UK Air Passenger Duty) which is a substantial deterrent to overseas travel, and further rises in the Duty are anticipated, the report says. Fiona Jeffery, Chairman of World Travel Market, said that British consumers used to travel regularly, locally and overseas, every year. “The global financial downturn has meant UK consumers have had to justify every penny they spend. This has had a real impact on the travel industry. However, many now have reduced their number of holidays or stopped going on holiday at all”, she said.
Even more disconcerting is the result of another World Travel market survey conducted amongst British residents that had already been on a holiday this year. Almost half said they had no interest in travelling to South Africa, while 42 % were reasonably interested, reports Southern African Tourism Update. Comparing interests in South Africa as a holiday destination relative to the other BRICS countries, our country’s tourism communication has not been seen by 70 % of the respondents polled in the UK. South Africa ranked third of the BRICS countries to visit ‘if money was no object‘, Brazil and China having a higher tourist interest. A threat to BRICS tourism could be the SLIMMA nations, the survey found, consisting of Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mexico and Argentina, with investment in infrastructure, natural beauty and high disposable income.
The UK market has represented as much as 40 – 50 % of Cape Town tourism business, and it will be sorely missed this summer. While more Germans are travelling this season, their increase is not making up the UK tourist loss.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage