The mid-week Heritage Day on 24 September has been a welcome boost to the tourist industry, with many locals taking the two successive days off to create a long weekend, thereby leading to good accommodation occupancies and restaurant business in the last four days. The Hermanus Whale Festival has been a success, judging by the accommodation shortage in the town in this period.
It would appear that the political turmoil of the public holiday week has had little or no impact on tourism. Perhaps the speedy replacement of ex-President Mbeki by new President Motlanthe, as well as the re-instatement of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has helped to calm the feelings of South Africans, as well as the financial markets.
Far more worrying for the hospitality industry is the continuing turmoil in the banking and investment industries in the UK and USA, given the importance of these two countries as source markets for tourism to South Africa.
Excellent news for the tourism industry is the further decrease in the price of petrol by about 25 c a litre, and in the price of diesel by about 50 c a litre, on Wednesday 1 October. This brings the price of petrol to just over R 9 a litre.