South Africa - Durban - 20 March 2020 - Coronavirus - The beach front is deserted as people stay away from crowded places due to the Corona virus Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency(ANA)
South Africa - Durban - 20 March 2020 - Coronavirus - The beach front is deserted as people stay away from crowded places due to the Corona virus Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency(ANA)

Hope for Durban tourism sector after unrest

By Anelisa Kubheka Time of article published Aug 12, 2021

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DURBAN continues to show positive results while the city works on getting tourists back to its sunny shores.

This as the eThekwini Municipality implemented key interventions to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for tourists following the unrest in the province last month.

Over the past long weekend, Durban recorded 34 500 visitors, a direct spend of R46 million, GDP contribution of R113m and approximately 31% occupancy rate.

Brett Tungay, east coast chairperson for the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa), said they were appreciative of the city’s efforts to market Durban.

He said, however, the industry was still getting no joy in terms of the municipality coming to the party with meaningful rates rebate for the tourism industry, which includes accommodation and restaurants.

“The industry took a hard knock over the last 18 months. It's a huge contributor to the GDP (gross domestic product) and employment in eThekwini. We are still pleading with the municipality to consider rate breaks for the hospitality industry, we know the city is also in need of revenue. For the long-term protection of this revenue they need to come to the party for the short term,” said Tungay.

He said greater response in terms of fiscal assistance was needed for the industry.

“The long weekend from KZN tourism was an absolute boom. The numbers coming in from all corners from the provinces. A lot of companies have said that the revenue generated over the long weekend was equal to and if not more to the entire month of July.

“It was a good boost, we are hoping the tourists will go back and tell people back home that it was safe, restaurants had food and shops had things to sell.”

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said eThekwini continued with its tourism rebuilding campaign. He said that they had projected a 50% visitor arrival at adjusted lockdown level 4, if there had been no civil unrest. The occupancy rate between 8 and 17 July was 19%, a loss of 31% in occupancy rates.

Kaunda said that the actual economic impact in Durban was a loss of 50 000 visitors, R110m in direct spend, R280m in tourism GDP and 600 jobs.

He said interventions to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for visitors included increased visibility of law enforcement agents at key tourism strategic points and zones, including the beachfront, airports, the harbour, local businesses and shopping malls.

“We are doing this in collaboration with local community partners and destination stakeholders such as community safety forums as well as urban improvement precincts,” Kaunda said.

He said the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre has major international events lined-up for November and December.

Daily News

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