South Africa: The tourism industry is in big trouble. Unfortunately, the prices currently on offer to local residents remain out of reach for most citizens. Offerings, from The Blue Train to private lodges are advertising cuts anywhere between 25 percent to 70 percent less than normal. However, the luxury tourism industry appears to be out of touch with 90 percent of South Africans as few are able to take advantage of the current offers.
South Africa tourism operators are too pricey for locals
Since 1994, upmarket lodges have gradually aligned themselves to US$ based pricing. Now, one operator in Kruger Park is offering rates slashed by 50 percent. Sadly, the reduced rate matches their standard rate of only four short years ago. Surely, an increase of 100 percent over four years is excessive? Unsurprisingly, too many South Africans cannot afford the prices, even at reduced rates.
Currently, South Africa’s famous Blue Train is running a special advertised as being 38 percent off their normal price of R20 615.00 per person sharing from Pretoria to Cape Town. Incidentally, that is for the Deluxe offer, the Luxury one is more expensive. Certainly, even at R 12 175.00 per person, most South Africans would hesitate to spend that much money. Unsurprisingly, the advert mentions the Blue Train as having entertained Kings, Presidents and adored celebrities. Clearly, they are the only people who can afford it. Undoubtedly, there are a few South Africans able to indulge in this luxury journey, but they are an extreme minority.
All is not lost
It is not all gloom and doom though. Certainly, a google search produces prices dropping as December approaches. Interestingly, this is indicative that locals are still not able to take up the special offers. However, perhaps by the end of November, things will be affordable but only for the middle to upper-middle-class. Interestingly, current specials in Botswana and Zimbabwe are more pricey than South Africa
Sadly, the best way to preserve South Africa’s heritage is to make it affordable to all classes one way or another. Luckily, for Gauteng residents, the most affordable way to enjoy the Big 5 is a day trip to Pilanesberg. Commendably, their entrance fee is reasonable and a packed picnic takes care of everything else. Besides, it’s not always about the luxury, the company is often the priceless part of any outing.
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