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The news of South Africa being removed from the red list – a country particularly at high-risk for new and emerging strains of coronavirus – could spell a tourism influx over the festive season, particularly from UK residents


Google reported a notably visible spike in flight searches to South Africa following the status change and the removal of the mandatory, costly hotel 10-day quarantine. Grant Smee, CEO of Frankie Bells Real Estate and property entrepreneur says this could have a positive effect on the embattled short-term rental market which has struggled to make ends meet since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Airbnb’s and other short-term rentals experienced a significant decrease in demand over the past 18 months and the sector sees the reopening of leisure travel as a much-needed lifeline.”


Coastal areas such as George, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Ballito and the Atlantic Seaboard are expected to score big. “At this stage, flights out of the UK are still limited and expensive but we’re seeing a demand for large coastal homes to accommodate families over the festive season,” he says. “We also can’t rule out Mpumalanga as a sought-after tourist destination with easy access to the Kruger Park and other private reserves.” Important to remember is the exchange rate and the price that many are willing to pay to see their loved ones after almost two years. “Rather than opting for a short trip, many visitors have their sights set on rentals of around one month in coastal areas. These rental properties are three-bedrooms-plus to accommodate large family reunions for the festive season,” says Smee.


And while local lockdowns over the festive season can’t be ruled out, Smee believes that the hospitality and tourism sector will be accommodated over this period. “The sector has faced fatal blows since the onset of the pandemic and the reopening of borders for leisure travel to South Africa is vital.” Smee anticipates a demand for coastal home purchases by international investors. “Home prices are at an all-time low and investors visiting the country will be looking around for great deals on a holiday home or home to rent out for the festive season.” Australia, home to many South African expats, will also be opening international borders for residents to travel from next month. Smee says that this too could generate great demand for residential property.


  • To AirBnB or not to AirBnB: Listing a short-term, luxury rental on AirBnB is a great way to ensure property exposure, however, you might not want to get lost in the clutter over the festive season period. “Partnering with a reputable estate agent in the luxury rental space is your best way of securing a vetted international tenant.”
  • If the price is right: “Knowing what other properties are renting for is the best way to ensure that you remain competitive and can secure a tenant. Over or under pricing could spell disaster over this period.”
  • Put your property on the map: “Make sure that your estate agent has access to a large database and can run a marketing campaign to expose your property to a host of international tourists.”


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