Durban — Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has seen a 65% increase in visitors to its facilities from April 2022 to April 2023.
This was revealed by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) HOD Fikiswa Pupuma at the Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) winter activation.
The activation took place at the weekend at the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, historically known as where King Shaka Zulu used to take his regiments to train for war.
Pupuma was standing in for Edtea MEC Siboniso Duma who could not attend due to other commitments.
She said Ezemvelo beat its preCovid-19, 2019 figures of 56 385.
“The domestic market made up the lion’s share of visitors to the entity’s game parks at 88.4% and international visitors made up 11.6%. Ezemvelo is one of many successes in the tourism sector which all amounted to a total of 7.7 million tourists during 2022.”
Pupuma said the tourists exceeded their 2019 figures and provided a direct spend of over R19 billion for KZN.
Pupuma said they would continue to work closely with private stakeholders, the police and communities to ensure the province was a safe destination.
“This means we will be doing our utmost to ensure road safety, keep crime at bay and ensure that our tourism spots and beaches are safe so that holidaymakers can enjoy their stay.”
Pupuma said their goal was to increase the number of domestic and international tourists as they were rebuilding and expanding the tourism sector. She said this sector would continue to be a key focus area for the provincial government.
Phindile Makwakwa, chief operations officer of TKZN, said Covid-19 showed them that digital was the way to go and that’s where people can see all the specials.
“We would like to have more people from Limpopo come to the province. We do activations across the country,” said Makwakwa.
Senior marketing manager Siphelele Luthuli from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said there were challenges because tourism was viewed as non-essential.
“A lot of people would rather visit their relatives than pay a price to travel. We would like to encourage people to travel,” said Luthuli.
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