South African Tourism recorded a 59,7% growth in domestic tourism during the first four months of 2019. Local demand, fuelled by value-added travel discounts and holiday packages, is not slowing despite the current tough economic climate.
Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group – a management company for 30 hotel and resort properties locally and internationally – says that vacations are an important outlet for escaping the day to day stresses of life. “While the desire to take a well-deserved break may be stronger than ever, consumers are more conscientious about how they spend their money.”
First Group has noted a shift in how holidaymakers plan their trips. Instead of saving all year to take one big annual vacation, many are opting to use whatever extra cash they have at the end of the month to take cheaper quick getaways more frequently by utilising low-season discounts and promotional specials.
“Domestic tourists still want to experience something ‘different’ and participate in exciting activities. But instead of taking lavish overseas holidays to exotic destinations, they are opting for more affordable budget-friendly local holidays, which can be easily reached by car or a low-cost airline. For this we applaud SA Tourism and Plett Tourism’s efforts to market campaigns that entice South Africans to travel their country and make local travel more accessible to all,” said Lamont.
This growing trend of last-minute bookings is particularly popular among Millennials who are more focused on seeking the ultimate Instagram-able experience. This is different from Generation X, with larger families, who focus on self-catering holiday options booked during school holidays. The Baby Boomers, most of who are reaching retirement, tend to prefer booking their holidays during the quieter periods or midweek when the hotels and resorts have fewer guests.
“First Group will continue to support SA Tourism’s objectives by playing its part in being visible through effective marketing campaigns that promote world-class accommodation and meet the growing consumer needs for value-added discounts and holiday packages. There has never been a better time than now for South Africans to get great vacation deals,” concluded Lamont.