Strong Rebound in Domestic Tourism Post-Covid, Says FNB Merchant Services CEO

Thokozani Dlamini, the CEO of FNB Merchant Services, reports a notable increase in turnover during the Easter weekend. According to transaction data, there was a 27% year-on-year increase in turnover during the Easter weekend, indicating a strong rebound in domestic tourism since the Covid and lockdown periods. The Western Cape saw the highest increase in year-on-year turnover, followed by Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. However, KZN and the Northern Cape experienced slower growth compared to last year.

Local spend increased by 29% year-on-year, while foreign spend saw a 92% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels. The data indicates that international spending is normalizing as countries lift travel restrictions. The increase in turnover was not just limited to traditional tourist hotspots, with many South Africans opting to visit family and friends in other provinces.

The increase in turnover was particularly notable in the lodging industry, with an increase of over 400%, followed by airlines, car rentals, and travel agents at 82%, 19%, and 58%, respectively. Spending at food outlets, such as restaurants and takeout, also saw a significant increase, aligned with the move towards travel and entertainment.

Although car rental saw a slower increase, Uber transportation experienced an increase of over 50% during the Easter weekend. This suggests that people are becoming more comfortable using ride-hailing services instead of renting a car.

Overall, the data shows that the increase in turnover was more budget-friendly, indicating that people are opting for more affordable travel options. FNB Merchant Services will continue to monitor spending trends in the coming months.