Tourism and property: Whose helping who, exactly?
Although many celebrities have spoken of how they intend to move to South Africa, the real influence that tourism has on the rental market is a lot more practical than the tabloids would hope.
It is, for the most part, a case of supply-and-demand. South Africa attracts tourists from across the world to its natural and cultural wonders. The wonders, as one can expect, are not the metropolitan cities that look almost identical to those in every city in the world (except maybe for the magwenya stands and the traffic-acrobatics of our taxis). Tourists want to see a South Africa that has been preserved against the uniformness of modernisation.
The more tourists that go to these preserved locations, the more opportunities arise for new businesses, which leads to the need for accommodation for those who own or are employed at these businesses.
The reverse effect is also true. Quite often tourists, especially local travellers, decide to set up shop somewhere along their journey - quite literally. Through the tourists' decision to open a new business at one of their travelling destinations, both residential- and commercial properties will come into play along the line. When these tourists decide to contribute in some way to the attractions of a "tourist town", they are expanding the desirability of the town as a tourist destination, drawing more tourists in...and the process starts all over again.
Another large demand for property that directly relates to tourism is that of tourist accommodation. With an influx of tourists rushing to the "top-10 places to see this holiday", tourist accommodations, whether it be an Airbnb or good old-fashioned bed and breakfast, are also increasing as the demand grows.
Between 2018 and 2019 there has already been a steady increase in tourism, which shouldn't be surprising as the number of annual tourists has increased by 3 million from 2009's 7 million, with the government pledging even more support toward tourism in the near future. The growth of the tourism market, as you've seen now, is indirectly the growth of the property market as well.
The tabloids may not come swarming towards a little town in the middle of the Karoo because a new authentic Afro-jewellery shop opened its doors, but tourists might, and that's what truly matters.
Author: Meridian Realty