Holidaymakers will feel the pinch at the pump
Petrol hikes are forcing locals to seriously rethink how they will travel this festive season
For the past seven years the cost of fuel for their two-week holiday in Ballito was “just one of those things”.
But this year it led a Johannesburg family of three to break with tradition by changing their mode of transport to and from their favourite December holiday destination .
For the first time Nalini Naicker booked flights to and from Durban after yet another fuel price hike.
“When we calculated the cost of fuel versus the cost of the airline tickets for two adults and a child, we decided to go with the cheaper option. I know we will miss the road trip but flying is really the cheaper option,” she told Times Select.
The Naickers are not alone in making this decision.
Thompsons Holidays spokesperson John Ridler said fuel costs were a real consideration for local travellers.
“For couples and single-child families it could be more economical to fly to their destination and rent a small car on arrival. Larger families will still find it practical to travel by car,” he said.
The Automobile Association made suggestions about economising on fuel, including sticking to speed limits, checking tyre pressures and leaving the air-conditioning off.
“Another option is to choose a destination much closer to home,” Ridler said.
While there is a possibility of the fuel price dropping in December, it may be a “little too late to recover from the hikes throughout the year”.
Automobile Association spokesperson Layton Beard told Times Select the fuel price would definitely affect December travellers.
“We are looking at the numbers at the moment and it looks like there is going to be a decrease in December. But those numbers are very preliminary and they will most certainly change.
“I think consumers have been battered throughout the year with increases. Any sort of savings that they have made in order to save for December may have actually been used for fuel throughout the year than put away for the holidays,” said Beard.
He said travellers would have to adapt their holiday budgets to accommodate the rising price of “everything” because of the fuel price hikes.
“It’s not only fuel. Everything has gone up because of fuel. Diesel is a fuel that is used in the industrial and agricultural sectors and the even small businesses use diesel. Their prices throughout the year would have had to accommodate for those increases and they would have then passed those increases on to wholesalers, retailers and then obviously on to consumers,” Beard explained.
Despite the cost of getting there, one of the country’s domestic tourism hot spots is preparing for thousands of holidaymakers expected to arrive from December 1.
Ugu South Coast Tourism’s Phelisa Mangcu said the KwaZulu-Natal south coast was expecting “a very busy and packed summer season”.
“Based on our observation of the spring period, we note that people are still looking forward to that time away from home or away from their normal lives.
“They still want time to relax despite the increased petrol prices. So, to them the south coast is an affordable, family-friendly destination with some of the best accommodation facilities where they enjoy time off and value for their money,” Mangcu said.