AN aerial view of the Suncoast complex.
DURBAN - More than 1 million tourists visited the city during the festive season - a growth of 138486 visitors compared with 2017 - which resulted in more than 9100 jobs being created, an increase of 1100 compared with the same period the previous year.

Providing a detailed presentation on the festive season performance to the executive committee yesterday, Sbu Zondi, a senior manager at Durban Tourism, outlined the success of the Summer Love campaign in attracting tourists to the city.

Zondi said visitors increased by 16% in 2018/19 with R2.7billion in direct spend. This resulted in a R4.5bn gross domestic product contribution.

He said 47% of domestic overnight visitors were from Gauteng, 18% from the Western Cape and 9% from the Eastern Cape. Swaziland was the highest foreign source market, followed by other Southern African Development Community countries, Zondi said.

Regarding tourism performance, there was 797722 overnight visitors to the city in 2018 with an increase of more than 90000 compared to the previous year.

The direct spend of overnight visitors in the city last year was R2.5bn - an increase of R400million - compared with R2.1bn spent in 2017.

The direct spend of day visitors was R2.7bn last year, an increase of R500m compared with the previous year.

Zondi said efforts to market the city and the Summer Love campaign early last year had paid dividends.

“We sell a basket of goods, not just one element when we market the city locally and internationally. We started from as early as February promoting the summer campaign on television, radio and in print, to get people to make the decision early to come to Durban on holiday,” Zondi said.

He said it started marketing the festive season campaign in July.

He said the Summer Love campaign aimed to boost domestic travel and encourage visitors to Durban while the Discover More Summer campaign was to boost travel in the low-peak season.

The events hosted also served as a “hook” to get visitors interested in the city. Some of these included the Telkom Semi-Final Knockout, the Fill-Up Moses Mabhida Stadium concert and the ANC January 8 statement.

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede thanked the teams involved in policing, marketing and emergency services.

The DA’s Nicole Graham applauded the city on the positive outcome, but said it needed to diversify options to ensure foreigners from countries with stronger currencies visited the city.

- THE MERCURY