Durban - A whopping 1.2million domestic holiday makers are expected to flock to KZN over the three-week school winter break which started on Friday and ends onJuly 17.

In a statement Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) said the Vodacom Durban July alone, which takes place on July 7, is expected to attract 50 000 people on race day. Contribution forecasts are around R159 million to eThekwini’s GDP, R10 million in government taxes and 320 annual jobs created.

MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, said an influx of visitors was expected due to major events taking place.

“This includes the Vodacom Durban July; The Dundee July, The Soul and Jazz Experience in Richards Bay, the Sardine Festival in Port Edward, the iSimangaliso Trail Challenge in St Lucia, and many more,” said Zikalala.

Charles Preece, spokesman for the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa, (FEDHASA), said bookings so far have showed an improvement from KZN’s last peak season.

“It is certainly a pick up from the Easter Holiday which was somewhat disappointing. Bookings have shown an increased interest for the July Holidays. Durban has the benefit of having warm beach weather over the school holiday period. Bookings generally haven’t been the best this year and we’re hoping to see a shift with school holiday period. We’re expecting to see more bookings come in over the next week or so,” said Preece.

Acting CEO for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Phindile Makwakwa said this was an opportune time for local tour operators to promote KZN and all its tourism offerings: “From the beach to the berg, to the game parks and our many exceptional tourism routes. Tourism contributes eight percent to our gross domestic product and employs 6.5 % of the country’s workforce. It is an important catalyst for the province’s economic transformation.”

KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson, Zinhle Mngomezulu, said they are anticipating high volumes of traffic as the holidays kick off today. “We know people will be excited and anxious to get home and sometimes, maybe not deliberately but in the excitement, they forget to comply with the rules of the road. We urge drivers to comply; if you are driving long distance, rest every two hours. Fatigue while driving is a killer. And to drivers planning on drinking and driving, we warn that we are out in full force on the roads and will be monitoring road users,” said Mngomezulu

Daily News