Danny Bryer from Protea Hotels by Marriott comments on the National Budget Speech 2017. Danny Bryer is the Director of Marketing, Sales & Revenue Management for Protea Hotels by Marriott.


Government’s recognition of tourism as an industry that can drive economic growth is certainly encouraging.  The Minister of Finance in his National Budget Speech for 2017 referred to it as a sector which is labour-intensive; this highlights the important role of the industry in providing jobs in an economy riddled by unemployment.


The reality of job creation through the tourism sector can be seen in many instances.  Each time a new hotel is opened, for instance, a number of new jobs are available, and they call for both unskilled and skilled workers, so the industry is impacting positively on people at all levels of society. In addition, the positive impact on various supporting industries, such as suppliers of food, transport providers and tour operators, is equally important.


Government recognises the potential for the tourism industry to grow a great deal more, and today announced the allocation of an additional R494 million for the promotion of tourism to the country.  Inbound travel figures for last year reflect the increasing popularity of the country among international visitors, and this is a trend that should continue this year.  The promotion of the country as a destination for both regional and domestic travellers is also something that will no doubt be pursued.


We are further encouraged that no additional measures to limit the spending on travel and accommodation by civil servants were announced in the National Budget Speech.  The corporate travel sector, including State travel, remains a significant driver of tourism growth.


In his Budget Speech, Minister Gordhan announced personal income tax increases for the wealthiest in our society: those with taxable incomes above R1,5 million per annum.  Although this segment of society is important for the tourism industry, it is unlikely that we will see a negative effect since these are people with substantial disposable income of such a size that an increase in the tax rate is unlikely to limit their ability to travel.


We welcome the fact that no other increases in personal tax rates were announced, as well as that no increase in VAT or in corporate tax is to be implemented.


The usual increase in excise duties for alcohol and tobacco, announced again today, is not likely to impact the sale of beverages in hotels.  The market has become used to increases in the price of these goods, and beverages will still be very affordable for international guests who benefit from the weaker Rand against their own currencies.


The proposed sugar tax will not be implemented at this stage so the potential impact on certain food items and beverages is not something we need be concerned about at this point.


An increase in levies derived from fuel sales will result in more expensive fuel for motorists and businesses.  This is likely to impact food prices negatively.  Protea Hotels by Marriott will continue to source food from local suppliers and this will assist us to restrict the impact this measure could have on food prices at our hotel restaurants.


Protea Hotels by Marriott looks forward to seeing the further promotion of our country as a destination of choice.