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Camp, caravan sites perform better than holiday rental options

Caravan parks and camping sites are outperforming all other tourism accommodation types, recording bigger income and visitor number increases each year.

Hotels, guest houses and guest farmshave been the worst performing from September 2017 to February 2018, new figures from StatsSA have revealed.

In February this year, guest houses and guest farms recorded an 8.6% decline in income. This, in addition to a 5.8% decline in income generated by bed and breakfast establishments (B&Bs), self-catering units and lodges, and a 1.3% drop in hotel income, resulted in the overall tourism accommodation industry bringing in 3% less from rentals than February 2017.

The loss of income recorded by the accommodation industry this month would have been higher had the average cost of overnight stays not increased. According to the data, February 2018 saw a 4.6% drop in the number of overnight stays sold, but the average income per night was 1.7% more, therefore resulting in the 3% decline.

Read: Letting properties abroad reaps good foreign returns

Caravan parks and camping sites was the only sector to see a year-on-year increase, with 15.9% more revenue from rentals in February.

Overall, caravan parks and camping sites have recorded a 242.9% year-on-year increase in income over the six month period, compared to the 28% of B&Bs, self-catering units and lodges, 20.8% of guest houses and guest farms, and 4.1% of hotels.

Despite the superior performance of caravan parks and camping sites, this sector makes up only a small percentage of the total industry, and because its rates are much lower than hotels and other accommodation types, its income only accounts for 0.9% of the total generated by the tourist accommodation industry. The period from December 2016 to February 2017 saw it bring in R63.4 million. In the same three months a year later, this figure increased by 32.8% to R84.2m.

According to the StatsSA data, hotels make up for 63.1% of income generated by the industry. From December 2016 to February 2017 this totalled R4.3 billion. A year later this figure increased by only 1.4% to R4.36bn.

In the same 2016/2017 period, B&Bs, self-catering units and lodges brought in R1.8bn, or 26.5% of the total. The increase a year later was 5.7%, taking its income to R642.8m. With a 9.5% total contribution, this figure in December 2016 to February 2017 was R647.9m.

In the report, StatsSA’s statistician-general Risenga Maluleke revealed low occupancy rates across the industry, with an average of only 48% from September 2017 to February 2018. Breaking up these rates by accommodation type, data shows these rates to be:
* Hotels – 45.7%.
* Caravan parks and camping sites – 46.1%.
* Guest houses and guest farms – 49.5%.
* Other (including B&Bs, lodges and self-catering units) – 57.3%.

In total, tourist accommodation brought in R13.58bn in accommodation income only – excluding restaurant and bar sales, and other income – in this six month period. Total figures by sector were:
* Hotels – R8.56bn.
* Caravan parks and camping sites – R139.6m.
* Guest houses and guest farms – R1.22bn.
* Other (including B&Bs, lodges and self-catering units) – R3.65bn.

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