Durban’s festive season success

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iol travel jan 10 suncoast SUPPLIED Revellers see in the new year with a bang as they watch a fireworks display at Durban's Suncoast Casino.

Durban Tourism has been figuring out the impact of the season, hailing it “one of the best years for business”, with beaches, anchor events and malls packed to capacity.

Sapphire Tourism in eManzimtoti has reported 89 percent occupancy in its various B&Bs and guest houses.

More than 700 000 holidaymakers are thought to have soaked up the sun at the city’s various beaches – the final figure will only be known at the end of this month – and more than 297 000 visitors visited uShaka Marine World. That’s three percent more than the previous December.

Shawn Thompson, the chief executive of the park, said that as a result, revenue had increased by five percent, and uShaka’s merchandising operation (the sale of its branded soft-toy mascots, towels and shirts) was up 15 percent.

Bongani Mthiyana, the attraction’s marketing manager, said its restaurants were packed and the number of diners had been more than double the initially projected figures.

He added that there were long queues for the new Body Tornado slide, which opened just before Christmas.

Record

More than 965 000 visitors headed for Suncoast Casino, Hotel and Entertainment, and the Suncoast Towers and SunSquare Suncoast Hotel reported 83.46 percent occupancy, 2.5 percent up on the previous year.

Over in uMhlanga, Gateway Theatre of Shopping recorded a footfall of 3.5 million visitors, “a 4 percent increase on December 2011”, said Adrian Raw, the centre manager, who added that the venue had welcomed a record 158 985 visitors on December 22.

Tenants at the Pavilion Shopping Centre in Westville – where 2.3 million visitors shopped – said they felt that “business was good in light of the current economic climate”.

Philip Sithole, the head of Durban Tourism, said the Volvo Golf Champions tournament at Durban Country Club from Thursday to Sunday would be another event with a positive economic impact for the city. He also called on the people of Durban to buy tickets to support the national soccer team during the coming Africa Cup of Nations. - Daily News

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