Policy: Turn public holidays into long weekends – airline

Low-cost airline FlySafair has drafted a proposal to change public holidays in SA to be less disruptive to the country’s workweek. A BusinessTech report says the airline has proposed that public holidays that fall in the middle of the week be moved to either a Friday or Monday. A day of observance would then serve to recognize the historical significance of these days should they fall on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. The proposal has been tabled with the Tourism Business Council of SA for review. If well-received by the body, FlySafair hopes this will begin the process of lobbying the Department of Tourism to introduce the amendment to Parliament. ‘Our intention is in no way to diminish the importance of these historical days,’ said Elmar Conradie, chief executive of FlySafair.

‘Our aim would be to look at how the time off from work can be better used to benefit the tourism industry and encourage South Africans to travel again.’ Conradie said the change would also bring about a speedier recovery for the travel and tourism industry and contribute to its economic growth. ‘FlySafair has found that there is a significant increase in bookings when a public holiday falls on either a Monday or Friday. There is a more than 20% increase in average passengers flown over a three-day weekend compared to lone public holidays, Conradie said, adding that ’2020 was the year that travel lost, and we’re doing everything we can to recover’. ‘But with this small change in public holiday execution, there’s a chance we could encourage South Africans to travel in their own backyards again.’

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