Data reveals SA tourism is expanding beyond pre-pandemic levels

A traveller checking in to a hotel during the pandemic. Picture: Pexels.

A traveller checking in to a hotel during the pandemic. Picture: Pexels.

Published Nov 23, 2023


The latest data NightsBridge has revealed that South Africa is on an upward trajectory and that the nation is currently experiencing a resurgence in the travel and tourism industry.

The research from the property management provider added that this trend is set to continue next year - some positive news for the travel industry which has been facing several challenges in recent years.

The data was compiled through an analysis of the total travel bookings during the period from January to October 2023.

Meanwhile, NightsBridge was thrilled with their findings.

“The tourism industry in South Africa has shown not only signs of recovery, but also of significant growth since the pre-pandemic period,” the company said.

“The compiled data compiled reveals a clear upward trend, with total bookings from January to October 2023 exceeding those from the same period in 2019 by 7.4%,” they added.

NightsBridge explained that this increase indicated that the industry had not only rebounded from the impacts of the Covid-19 period, but that the tourism sector was also experiencing expansion beyond pre-pandemic levels.

“Analysis of consistent data from 4 122 NightsBridge clients since January 2019 illustrates a 9.4% year-over-year increase in bookings from 2022 to 2023,” they said.

“Online bookings, in particular, have come into the spotlight with a 17.3% rise compared to pre-pandemic figures.”

According to NightsBridge, the rise in online bookings suggested that consumer behaviour has shifted more towards digital solutions.

This is a trend which is believed to have been accelerated and amplified by the pandemic as it was sustained by the convenience and efficiency of online platforms.

“The increase in offline bookings, though more modest at 1.6%, complements the overall growth, indicating that traditional booking methods still hold relevance and have also recovered,” the company said.

And with 2024 on the horizon, NightsBridge believes that the data hinted at a continued upward trajectory for the industry.

The company’s co-founder and managing director Theresa Emerick said the findings showed that this was not just a rebound, but a meaningful advancement.

“The growth in online bookings is a reflection of evolving traveller behaviours and preferences, as well as the travel industry’s continued adoption of digital solutions as a time-saving administrative convenience,” she said.