Stephen Hickmore – I am sure that you’d like to see the back of 2020? This has been an unprecedented year for our hospitality and tourism industry. There are few companies, if any, who are left unscathed.

‘Although South Africa is now inviting visitors from the rest of the world, the recession has left tourists with less money in their pockets; coupled with quarantine rules and the rise of COVID cases in Europe and the USA, it is too early to celebrate a marked return of travelers to our beautiful land.’

Domestic travel has assisted holiday resorts, game lodges and coastal hotels. People are needing short getaways from the pressures of lockdown. However, a glance at the rise in unemployment – especially with middle income individuals – shows South Africans are ‘cash strapped’.

Corporate businesses big and small are, in the main still working from home. Many advising against unnecessary business travel and meetings. Sadly, end of year events are, as a rule, a non-starter this year.

So, where is the good news in all of this? Our industry is starting to make a slow recovery. Our COVID cases are under control in many provinces. We hope that this continues, so we appear to the rest of the world as a ‘safe’ destination. If we keep the trajectory going southward, we have a chance of being ahead of other countries that compete in the same international travel market.

At Hickmore recruitment, I hear many people saying ‘I can’t wait for this year to be over.’ I think we can agree, 2020 has been a nightmare; the beginning of 2021 will be a continuum. We are, in all probability, looking at a two- to three-year recovery period for hospitality.

Regards Stephen Hickmore

Airlines – low demand in holiday season

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