The United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the European Union coupled with the UK leadership race have had a major impact on the Pound. However, experts are divided on how this will impact the local tourism industry. Some are saying that with the weaker Sterling, UK tourists will opt to travel to South Africa in order to take advantage of a weak Rand. Others have said that the current situation will result in a decline in the number of tourists from the UK with those that do travel outside the country spending less money.
Pierre Roux, Group Financial Manager for Premier Hotels & Resorts, agrees that UK tourism to South Africa will drop and believes that as a result of the weaker Pound, South Africa will see more tourists from countries with stronger currencies such as the US Dollar and Euro. He says: “Despite this, we will not be able to make up the loss of the Sterling we have come to expect from the UK which is our number one international inbound tourism market according to Stats SA’s Tourism and Migration April 2016.”
He adds, “It is our hope that more countries with solid currencies will see South Africa as an attractive tourism destination and that by visiting our shores in bigger numbers, they will positively impact the Rand.”
“That said, the weak Rand bodes well for local tourism as it makes exploring our own country a more viable option than travelling internationally. Furthermore, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has said the government had ring-fenced R110-million to spend on supporting domestic tourism this year and would be working with the private sector to try to make domestic travel more affordable for South Africans. The combination of these will result in an increase in domestic tourism and consequently stimulate the local economy,” shares Roux.
“In the coming months, we will have clearer picture of just how Brexit has affected the local tourism industry,” concludes Roux.