Durban — The IFP in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature has called on the government to quickly address and eliminate factors that negatively impact tourism in the province.
The IFP said this as Tourism Month comes to an end and they were reflecting on the spectacular tourist attractions that KwaZulu-Natal has to offer international tourists, as well as local residents.
IFP KZN spokesperson on economic development, tourism and environmental affairs Les Govender said that over the years international tourists – especially those from the northern hemisphere wanting to escape their cold winter – would seek out tourist hot spots across our province.
This led to tourism role players across the board, from large hotel groups to small B&Bs, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and informal traders, all benefited in some way.
Govender said the IFP is sceptical about the tourist season as the year draws to a close. Whilst the monetary exchange rates make South Africa a very affordable destination, there are many negative factors that will deter international tourists.
He said that any tourist would like to have peace of mind around issues such as their safety. The high levels of reported criminal activity, especially those incidents where tourists have been attacked, will certainly deter anybody who would want to holiday in KZN.
“For decades, the KZN beaches have been a major tourist attraction but recently the water quality has come into question, with high levels of Escherichia coli (E coli), which makes swimming a health risk. Load shedding and an uncertain clean water supply will also make prospective tourists think twice before deciding to holiday in KZN,” Govender said.
“The IFP believes that all these negative factors undermining tourism in KZN must be placed on the doorstep of the ruling party. Those in positions of power sat back and watched while the tourism sector was being destroyed. While the KZN Tourism Authority has been working hard to promote tourism in our province, the negative forces mentioned above have worked against its efforts.
“Attracting international tourists also hinges on having international airlines landing at King Shaka International Airport. Tourists would like to be able to move into and out of the province quickly and it would therefore be advantageous to have more international carriers flying into KZN,” Govender explained.
“If the government of the day is serious about boosting tourism – and thereby creating job opportunities within the sector – it urgently needs to address and eliminate factors that negatively impact tourism in KZN.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend, DA counterpart Heinz de Boer said the water crisis in northern Durban is killing tourism.
He said that north Durban, known for some of KZN’s premier hotels and hundreds of guest houses, has borne the brunt of further economic losses.
He also said that KZN’s tourism sector simply cannot afford to carry the impact of these catastrophic water interruptions - with no end in sight to the crisis.
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