While South African hotels battle to return to pre-pandemic performance in the face of economic hardship, no money troubles are preventing the world’s uber-rich from choosing to stay at Africa’s finest establishments, including Durban’s luxurious Oyster Box.
The 2022 Africa Wealth Report, in which the top hotels for the wealthy in Africa have been reviewed, show the five most popular hotels for centi-millionaires — those who have more than $100m (R1.7bn) in assets — visiting the continent between 2015 and this year.
The South African-based global wealth intelligence company New World Wealth has been tracking the movements and spending habits of the world’s wealthiest people for more than seven years.
Based on its research, New World Wealth found these hotels topped the popularity list:
Researcher Andrew Amoils said the selection criteria included prime location, popularity among the wealthy, views and gardens.
“The luxury hotel sector is one of the most important sectors in Africa as it brings a large amount of forex spending into the continent. It also creates a large number of well-paying jobs for local hoteliers, chefs, game rangers and waiters.
“Much of this income is seasonal in the form of tips.”
According to New World World Africa is home to 320 centi-millionaires as at June 2022.
An additional 2,500+ centi-millionaires regularly visit the continent for holidays, mainly from the UK, US, France, Switzerland and Germany.
“South Africa is the main luxury tourist destination in Africa. Major destinations for wealthy people include Cape Town, Umhlanga, Franschhoek, Plettenberg Bay, Hermanus and the Kruger Park area, especially Sabi Sands,” said Amoils.
“Major destinations for centi-millionaires in the rest of Africa include Marrakesh in Morocco, Cairo in Egypt, the Serengeti in Tanzania, Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, the Masai Mara in Kenya, Livingstone in Zambia and the Okavango Swamps in Botswana. Gorilla safaris in the Virunga Mountains (Rwanda) and the Bwindi Forest (Uganda) are also popular.”
In an analysis of hotel revenue in South Africa, John Loos of FNB commercial property finance said income levels continue to fall short of “fully recovered” status, remaining significantly weaker than pre-lockdown levels.
The Stats SA release of September 2022 preliminary monthly tourism statistics showed the hotel sector’s income levels making further progress on post-lockdown recovery, but not fully recovered to pre-lockdown levels.
“On a year-on-year growth rate basis, total hotel sector income was a very strong 118.6% in September, which was a renewed acceleration on the already-strong August growth rate of 58.5%.
“Given the abnormalities created in post-lockdown growth rates, due largely to the low 2020/21 lockdown base, it makes sense to also view total revenue value, and compare it to the comparable month back in 2019, the pre-Covid period.
“We then get a better perspective of a hotel sector whose income is clawing its way back out of the lockdown dip, but which is under significant pressure, albeit getting nearer to full recovery. By full recovery we mean getting back to 2019 levels.”
Loos is expecting revenue figures to improve gradually as the year draws to an end,
“However, surges in fuel prices earlier in 2022, as well as in overall inflation, driven mainly by fuel and food prices along with rising interest rates and a slowing economy, have become a more recent source of financial pressure on business and consumers. This, in turn, may have constrained the pace of recovery in demand for tourism trips of a holiday and business nature, albeit it not stopping the recovery entirely.”
He expects full recovery may only occur “well-into 2023 at best”.
“The coming December 2022 holiday season looks set to see improvement on December 2021, but may be below the December 2019 level of occupancy rate and income, given the recent economic constraints.”
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