At a time when manufacturing and mining are shedding jobs, SA’s tourism sector is growing roughly three times faster than the overall economy. This is despite having endured a very difficult year. Cape Town lost 15%-20% of its expected tourist arrivals due to doomsday messaging about Day Zero (when the taps would be turned off), and SAA shed 13% of its seating capacity on international flights between March and September when it dropped several unprofitable routes. However, the slack was taken up by other airlines, so overall seating capacity remained roughly flat on a year-on-year basis. Next year, it should be up by 3.2%, says Olivier Ponti, vice-president of international travel data analytics firm ForwardKeys. Ponti shared this data at the African Leaders Forum, held under the auspices of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in Stellenbosch recently. The conference consensus was that when it comes to creating jobs, one of the most effective measures SA could take is to prio...

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