Cape Town - Cape Town hotels are fighting back against the devastation caused to business in the wake of the Omicron variant.
In the 48 hours following the announcement of the variant and the ensuing confusion that caused global travel bans, South Africa's tourism and hospitality sectors lost approximately R1 billion through cancelled bookings.
Many had pinned their hopes on the high season to rescue the flailing sector.
This especially after last year’s Cape Town Tourism’s impact report found its members lost R2bn and shed 12 000 jobs during the traditional high season months.
According to the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) latest, The State of Cape Town Central City Report, the number of the hotels in the city centre dropped from 44 to 42 in 2020 - an which has been seen as an impressive survival rate considering the challenges.
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) chief executive Busi Mavuso said the impact on the tourism industry had been particularly shocking.
“Recent unemployment statistics underline just how desperate the situation is. The blow from Omicron will exacerbate this.”
However, while Omicron dealt the industry a devastating blow, several Cape Town CBD hotels have been quick to respond to the crisis in creative ways such as attractive specials to attract domestic tourists back to their hotels.
The Capital 15 on Orange’s managing director Marc Wachsberger said the hotel had lost about 25% of its bookings since the Omicron announcement, but that it was seeing strong domestic demand because of its apartment options.
“The Capital is a hybrid hotel with rooms and apartments on offer, an ideal option for longer-stay guests. To entice local tourists, rooms have been substantially discounted to just R1 750 per night. This offer lasts until December 27.”
The Pepperclub Hotel’s general manager, Efi Ella, said the team lost international bookings which amounted to 40% of their bookings for December.
“We are grateful for the support that we are getting from the domestic market. South Africans can also support us by visiting our coffee shop or restaurant.”
Meanwhile, Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier has written to the national government to lobby for the implementation of a Remote Work Visa for international travellers.
Supporting the move, DA provincial spokesperson on Tourism Deidré Baartman said: “It is time for decisive and quick response from the Union Buildings to support the tourism industry, not only in the Western Cape but across the country.”