Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Hotels suffered a 3.5% decline in income on a 5.2% drop in foreign tourist numbers in May from the same month in 2017, Statistics SA reported on Monday.

The biggest source of foreign tourists in May was the US, with 33,925 — a 3% drop from May 2017.

The second highest number of foreign tourists in May came from the UK, with 20,502 — an 8% annual drop.

Third-placed Germany showed a 4.5% drop in tourists to 13,618, but fourth-placed France showed a 6% increase to 12,833.

The overall income of SA’s hospitality industry came to R3.8bn in May, a 1.4% decline from R3.9bn in May 2017, Stats SA said in its tourist accommodation report.

Sales from hotel rooms sold during May amounted to R1.29bn, down 3.5% from R1.34bn the previous year in current prices. Stats SA provides only current prices in its monthly tourist accommodation report, so the decline would be more severe if inflation were factored in.

May’s hotel occupancy rate was 40.6%, down from 41.8% in May 2017.

The occupancy rate for the overall industry — which includes caravan parks and guest houses — declined to 40.1% in May from 43.2% the previous year.

Stats SA’s data shows hotel accommodation income spiked at R1.8bn in June 2010 when SA hosted the soccer World Cup, a peak it has still to regain even without accounting for inflation.