South Africa’s tourism industry is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, and several JSE-listed companies are reaping the rewards.
According to data from Stats SA and The Outlier, the total number of visitors arriving in South Africa per month has increased from 73,988 in October 2020 to 731,108 in October 2023 – an 888% increase.
In October 2023, 2.65 million travellers entered and exited South Africa, including arrivals, departures, and transits.
They were made up of 28.9% South African residents and 71.1% foreign travellers.
Overseas tourists were 26% of all tourists, and ‘Holiday’ continues to be the main purpose of visit, with about 96.4% of all the tourists being in South Africa for holiday purposes, according to Stats SA.
While these numbers are not back to pre-pandemic numbers, tourism in South Africa is steadily recovering, and several JSE-listed companies have benefitted from the increase.
JSE-listed Zeda, which owns car rental company Avis, reported strong results for the 2023 financial year.
Its car rental business revenue grew by 12% to R6.66 billion, which the company said was supported by a surge in inbound travel and strong growth in corporates.
These segments recorded revenue growth of 98% and 48%, respectively.
This resulted in strong EBITDA growth of 17% to R1.85 billion while operating profit before capital items grew to R885 million.
Hospitality company Sun International also benefited from the increased tourism in South Africa in its most recent results.
In its interim results for the six months through June 2023, the company’s total resorts and hotels income was up 26.9% to R1.4 billion compared to 2022.
Adjusted EBITDA was up 64.4% to R314 million from R191 million in the prior period.
“We continue to experience a strong recovery in both international and local business in the resorts and hotels segment of the group,” the company said.
“Domestic leisure, conferencing and sports and events revenues continue to grow, while international leisure business recovered strongly in the review period.”
The company saw its average occupancy for accommodation increase from 57.0% to 66.8% In the six-month period.
“Sun City continues to achieve exceptional performance following the restructuring and streamlining of its operations, along with the resort’s strong appeal to the South African market,” it said.
“Additionally, The Table Bay Hotel experienced a significant surge in demand from international markets, leading to robust growth in both occupancies and room rates.”
City Lodge Hotels
In its 2023 results, hospitality company City Lodge Hotels reported strong post-pandemic recovery.
The company reported a 55% increase in revenue to R1.7 billion and a 452% increase in headline earnings per share, which saw the company swing from a profit to a loss.
City Lodge said these results were boosted by a significant uplift in foreign tourists visiting South Africa, accompanied by increased domestic business and leisure travel.
“Our occupancy rates have shown robust growth, surpassing even pre-pandemic levels, a testament to our ability to respond, adapt and thrive,” the company said.