DURBAN - TOURISM KwaZulu-Natal held a fourth Jab4Tourism campaign promoting vaccination among holidaymakers and front line workers in the province on Wednesday afternoon.
Communication manager Pinky Radebe said this was in line with the recovery plan for the sector.
"It is imperative for the province to continue with marketing and promotional initiatives during lockdown and post the unrest, in order to keep the destination top-of-mind, both locally and internationally. It was even more crucial to reignite domestic travel, which requires vaccination more so,“ she said.
Radebe said that in collaboration with the province they wanted to promote safe travel.
“The festive season is well under way. We recognise the importance of keeping the tourism industry open and want to be a part of the solution. As a result, we’re collaborating with important stakeholders in the province, such as the Department of Health and our districts, to develop a vaccination awareness campaign that will run from December 17 to 30,” said Radebe.
She said tourism in KZN was hit hard, economically, as were the other provinces and the country at large.
“The Covid-19 crisis has cut deeply into the tourism sector and value chain globally. Data at local level reveals that KwaZulu-Natal was not immune to this. Small businesses, in particular, suffered the most. While the province welcomed 6.1 million domestic visitors in 2019, there was a 38.5% decline of domestic trips and 72% in international trips,” said Radebe.
The drive comes as KwaZulu-Natal overtook Gauteng to become the Covid-19 fourth wave hot spot.
Radebe said as the pandemic impacted on many sectors, it was important to also work with these sectors to ensure all were present in the recuperation project.
She said her office was working closely with other transport stakeholders to monitor the traffic coming into the province, which would help in the provision of response strategies.
“Traffic is very important to the provincial tourism office, as it tells us how we can accommodate our visitors safely in the middle of the pandemic.
“We are expecting 820 000 trips into the province. At the Mariannhill Toll Plaza, close to 1 000 to 1 200 cars pass through every hour. Those numbers tell you KZN is going back to what it used to be, therefore, this is extra important," said Radebe.
Busiswa Ngxumza, who was vaccinated at the drive, said more people would be open to vaccination during the holiday season.
"As you can see, this is my first jab. And it is not about hesitancy, but just the lack of time. The government should definitely be open to these drives and more people would come to vaccinate," said Ngxumza.
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal projects R1.9 billion would be injected into the province’s GDP. The drive will now move to the Amajuba, uThukela and uMgungundlovu districts.