An ongoing lack of inbound tourists in South Africa has had the biggest impact on the car-rental industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was highlighted during a Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) webinar by Sandile Ntseoane, GM of the Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (Savrala).

“We have a high dependency on the airlines. Inbound amounts to 50% of our business. Even with the relaxation of lockdown regulations, essential business travel still doesn’t help [the industry] much,” he said.

Witnessing the threat to the business of its members, he said Savrala felt ignored by government along with the other industries fuelling the travel and tourism industry in South Africa.

Ntseoane sits on the board of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and said he appreciated the ‘balancing act’ that government and the relevant ministries had had to perform, but added that things could be at the point where legal action might need to be taken.

Savrala represents 400 000 vehicles and generates, on average, annual revenues of R6bn (€315m).