Hospitality sector ready for first lockdown-free festive season since 2019

Hospitality sector ready for first lockdown-free festive season since 2019
Hospitality sector ready for first lockdown-free festive season since 2019

Holidaymakers are ready to let their hair down

It has been a tough couple of years for the hospitality industry, but with the National State of Disaster having been lifted in April earlier this year, there is definitely a bright sparkly light on the horizon. This December will be the first lockdown-free festive season in two years! Whilst 2022 has not been marred by the looting or COVID pandemic of previous years, the floods in the Eastern Cape and KZN added extra pressure to an already crisis-fatigued nation. Therefore, this festive season is arguably the most anticipated, in several years, for all South Africans who are tired and very ready to let their hair down.

Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts explains that whilst people were elated at having fewer restrictions in 2021, the threat of yet another COVID wave put a dampener on the previous festive season, with holidaymakers adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude before confirming their holiday travel plans. “Thankfully, in 2022, we no longer need to be as cautious, and while there will always be some last-minute festive season bookings, most people have already planned their trips in advance. The great news for hospitality is that this holiday season is going to look very different to the past two years!”

He adds that First Group is expecting 100% occupancy across all 27 of their properties over the festive season, with over 80% of them already booked to capacity. Interestingly, Shaun says that they have seen an increase in direct bookings, which he accredits to guests trying to save as much as possible: “Most leading hotel groups, including First Group, have enticed holidaymakers to book directly (via website or phone) by offering great deals. This, in turn, allows us to facilitate the full customer experience from booking to check out.”

There is no doubt that South Africans are looking forward to a fun-filled festive season and making magical, lasting memories with those they love. Shaun believes that their enthusiasm is sure to be met by an eager, hope-filled hospitality industry that will welcome them with open arms.

Still haven’t booked your festive getaway? Head on over to www.firstgroup-sa.co.za to secure one of the last spots at a hotel, resort, or self-catering accommodation of your choice.