Cheaper trips and less local travel overall characterise SA’s leisure experience
Cash-strapped South Africans are taking fewer local trips‚ and those who do choose to travel are spending less money while doing so.
The results of the Statistics SA domestic travel survey for 2016 showed that while total expenditure on domestic travel held stable at R87bn in 2015 and 2016‚ there has been a considerable decline since 2014‚ when South Africans spent R110bn on local travel.
The data looks at two sorts of domestic travel — day trips in which a distance of 40km or more is travelled‚ and overnight trips involving one or more nights spent away from home.
There was a marked decline in the number of day trips South Africans undertook in 2016, decreasing from 44.3-million in 2015‚ to 39.4-million.
Overnight trips decreased from 45.4-million in 2015 to 43-million in 2016. The single biggest explanation offered for not undertaking overnight trips in 2016 was "financial reasons".
The majority of day trips taken in 2016 were for shopping purposes and visiting family and friends.
Statistician-general Pali Lehohla also illustrated the other top reasons for taking day trips — leisure and attending funerals saying: "On Saturdays in SA‚ you see these streams of cars heading to funerals‚ and then also lots and lots of motorbikes."
On average‚ South Africans spent about R1‚367 on their most recent day trip.
Those undertaking overnight trips reported that the number one reason for taking them was to visit family and friends. Leisure and funerals were also popular reasons for travelling. The main destinations for overnight travel were Limpopo‚ Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
While travelling‚ 73% stayed with family or friends‚ while 4.4% of travellers stayed in self catering accommodation‚ and 4.1% stayed in hotels.
On average‚ South Africans spent about R1‚322 on overnight trips.
Lehohla said that in addition to tough economic conditions‚ the number of unemployed people was growing and millions were living below the poverty line.
"Under those conditions‚ travel will suffer‚" he said.