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KZN counts the cost of flood carnage to the tourism industry

The Durban coastline. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

The Durban coastline. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Published Apr 25, 2022

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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal floods have left tourism facilities damaged and resulted in cancellations from visitors to the province.

Minister of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu said the Easter holidays performance estimates in KZN projected an overall hotel accommodation occupancy for the province of 54.4% for the period. The estimated number of visitors was 236 630 with a revenue of R743 million.

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In Durban, on average, 16% of bookings were cancelled which translates to a loss in projected visitors of 20%, about 30 000 visitors.

This means a direct-spend loss of R30m is projected, with a R74m GDP loss and 155 temporary job losses.

“Tourism KZN is working closely with Durban Tourism to ascertain the extent of the damage from product owners.

“Adventure Valley in Ballito has bookings cancelled for the next month due to road and bridge damage. The Mnini Dam Resort is badly damaged by the floods. The Tropicana Hotel had 40% occupancy.”

The impact of mud and debris washing down the rivers can be seen on the sea shores of beaches south of Durban. Picture Doctor Ngcobo

In the Ilembe District, the Rain Farm Game Lodge was affected when the bridge to the property washed away and people could not get to the farm.

“The first guest cancellation was at Martinque complex. On April 11, guests arrived and checked out on April 13 due to no electricity and no water. The value lost was R36 500,” Sisulu explained.

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Adventure Valley had bookings cancelled for the next month with the company temporarily closed because the roads have washed away.

Relax Inn in Ilembe is without running water, and in the Ugu District, 10 bed and breakfast establishments between Port Shepstone and Ramsgate have received cancellations.

The impact of mud and debris washing down the rivers can be seen on the sea shores of beaches south of Durban. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Sea Spray Cottages in Margate and two thatched cottages were flooded and furniture and TVs were damaged. Marine Drive in Margate was closed due to a dangerous wash-away.

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Sisulu said in the central Drakensberg potholes were the main issue. This was exacerbated by the heavy rains while Olifantshoek pass was badly damaged.

The minister was informed that the Alfred Duma Municipality has had 64 cancellations with Gooderson properties which had between an 85% and 90% occupancy.

Cato Ridge and the Midlands Tala Game Reserve is closed for the next few days due to flooding. At Gwahumbe Game Reserve roads into and in the reserve are unsuitable for driving. Sisulu was informed that one of the camps had been partially destroyed.

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Clean ups taking place along the Durban coastline. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

In the Midlands, Brahman Hills had two conferences cancelled this week, and the loss is estimated at about R75 000.

“Through the interventions of Durban Tourism and Tourism KZN, city officials ensured that water tankers were provided to Tsogo Sun Umhlanga hotels, City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge and the Oyster Box Hotel.”

Sisulu said the SA Rugby Union was considering moving the match between Ireland’s Leinster and the Sharks from Durban to Joburg but following water provision interventions the match went ahead in Durban on Saturday.

Sisulu and KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay, met tourism trade hoteliers and representatives of tourism to deliberate on the Tourism Water Plan on Sunday. They visited major attractions including two World Heritage Sites – iSimangaliso Wetland Park and uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park – focusing on the Didima Nature Reserve and the Big 5 Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

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