Mense, the South African tourism industry needs you.
And by you, they mean us - ordinary locals with our few randjies in our pockets.
You see, the City of Cape Town and tourism and travel groups are desperate to make up for the devastating losses suffered as a direct result of the discovery of the Omicron variant by South African scientists.
This development placed SA on almost every red list for international travel last month.
And it led to the immediate cancellation of an estimated R1 billion in bookings for the high season.
According to the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, this figure did not even include airline and other on-the-ground spending losses at restaurants, curio shops and other traders.
So last week, Cape Town Tourism in partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Directorate of Economic Growth, launched the “Pocket Friendly” campaign, aimed at inviting South Africans to the Mother City to boost the local economy.
City Mayco member for economic growth, James Vos, said the campaign would offer discounts on flights, accommodation and attractions in Cape Town.
Great idea. This is not only good news for the 1.5 million people employed in the sector.
But it might also give the average working-class Capetonian a chance to really see and experience their own city.
For too long, sightseeing, tours, accommodation, restaurants and entertainment have simply been unaffordable for locals.
Our attractions are aimed at foreign visitors - Brits, Europeans, Americans and wealthy Asians - with their dollars, euros and pounds.
You could halve the fees and ordinary mense would still be priced out of the market. For example:
- An adult return ticket on the Table Mountain cable car is R380 (Are they j..?!);
- The price of an adult ticket at the Two Oceans Aquarium is at least R155 (you can buy a snoek and feed a family with that money);
- Entry at Cape Point is R340 for foreigners and R85 per local person, which is still klomp geld (pack your own snacks for this day trip because the shop prices are criminal)
- A lekker city tour on those red, open-top sightseeing buses is R225 per adult, and R550 for a family of four ('n hele week se wages);
- A trip to Robben Island is R400 per local adult and R600 for foreigners;
- Even entry to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is R40 for adults;
- And you won’t find decent hotel or guesthouse accommodation for under R1000 per couple per night.
Mense can barely afford petrol and electricity - or Christmas goodies - this month, so how do we budget for these prices?
No ways, the City and hospitality industry need to come to the party and drop their prices significantly if they want to entice locals, and survive the fourth wave.
There was some good news on Tuesday with the announcement that the UK had removed 11 countries off its travel red list, which required mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers returning from SA.
Southern Africa Tourism Services Association chief executive David Frost said within the first 48 hours, at least R940 million in bookings were recorded.
Premier Alan Winde also welcomed the announcement.
Winde called on other countries who have imposed travel bans to lift them too.
That’s great, so what happens to the “Pocket Friendly” campaign?
Now that foreigners can visit again, don’t forget that charity begins at home.