Hotels fill up as foreign tourists return after lull
Posted on November 4, 2011 by admin under
Tourists from South Africa’s traditional source markets in the UK and Europe are coming back while more are arriving from the new markets in China and India, and hotels are filling up again after a lull following last year’s soccer World Cup.
Spokespeople for hotels in Johannesburg and Cape Town said yesterday that they were already receiving more guests and those in Cape Town said bookings were heavy for January and February, the normal season for leisure travel from the northern hemisphere.
Markus Fritz, the general manager of the Hilton Cape Town City Centre – the former Coral International taken over by Hilton a few months ago – said it now had an occupancy rate of 80 percent. Bookings were strong for the whole of this month and the hotel was almost fully booked for December, with a 50-50 mixture of and leisure visitors.
Bookings by leisure visitors were strong throughout February and March, and prices were on a par with those in the popular destination of Vienna the Austrian capital.
“”The fall in travel from Europe has ended,” he said. “British, Germans, Dutch and Italians are travelling again.”
Fritz said the Hilton brand worldwide was helped by the group’s strong marketing organisation and loyalty club. The group was still growing internationally and already had 30 hotels in China. This number would grow to 70 within the next two years. Guests at the Hilton Cape Town would include a group of 150 from China arriving soon.
Cape Town has been said to have an oversupply of hotels, including 15 five-star establishments, after more were opened in time for the World Cup. Some five-star hotels cut their rates to three-star or four-star levels to fill rooms that would otherwise have been left empty, and a few were forced to close, although some internationally know hotels were able to maintain their rates.
Fritz said he expected rates to rise in coming weeks.
Andrew McLachlan, the business development director of the Brussels-based Rezidor group in southern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands, said its properties in Sandton, where it has two five-star Radisson Blu hotels, and in Port Elizabeth were doing well. And a new three-star Park Inn in Heerengracht in Cape Town, due to open today, was already fully booked.
“This is the first hotel I have ever opened fully booked, all with paying guests,” he said.
“The hotel is within walking distance of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which means we can expect conference delegates all year round.”
In Durban, spokespeople for two hotel groups, Gavin Castleman, the chief operating officer of the Gooderson group, and Andrew Ngwenya, the rooms division manager at the five-star Elangeni beachfront hotel in the Southern Sun group, said Durban’s beachfront had been busy throughout the winter, despite the troubles hotels in other parts of the country had suffered.
Durban has fewer hotels than Cape Town and those in the beachfront area had been kept busy by conferences and government business.
Castleman and Ngwenya said foreign visitors from Germany and France had continued to come to Durban. They also expected most Durban hotels to be filled for the UN conference on climate change later this month.
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