* The inflation rate has dropped to 4,4%, a three year low, and down from 5,3% in December. The lower petrol price and slower food price increase benefited the inflation rate. The price of petrol is expected to increase in March.
* SAA is two-thirds through its 90 Day Action Plan, with a ‘business unusual’ approach to turn the airline around. ‘Cost-compression‘ measures have helped to achieve relative stability. Loss-making flights (to China and India) are to be cancelled, taken over by Middle Eastern airlines, and linked to SAA via code-share arrangements. More flights to Mauritius, Maputo, and Harare have been scheduled.
* The new visa regulations for tourists from China and India are hurting the South African tourism industry, said David Scowsill, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council. Tourism numbers from the two source countries are down by 60 – 80%, even prior to the official introduction in June this year. He said that the regulations were ‘probably the top issue that this country needs to solve in order to get back into growth mode for the industry…. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to come visit you’. Travelers with children have to travel with an unabridged birth certificate when traveling in South Africa. Single parents need to present a letter of consent from the other parent. The regulations are expected to cost 100000 tourism employment opportunities.
* SA Tourism is opening new offices in African cities of Nairobi and Luanda this year, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has announced. By 2020 SA Tourism plans to have five offices in other African countries.
* Short and cryptic is the City of Cape Town’s communication on Facebook about a planned march by the ANC in the city centre tomorrow, affecting its MyCiTi Bus service: ‘ANC march planned for the 19 Feb 2015 between 09:00 – 14:00. The affected routes will be 102, 103, 106 and 107. Delays can be expected‘. Street names are not mentioned for the remainder of Cape Town’s residents who use a car in the city centre! Via Google we have discovered that the routes affected are Salt River, Gardens and Oranjezicht, Camps Bay, Civic Centre and the V&A Waterfront.