Durban – EThekwini Municipality together with industry role-players are gearing up to welcome an expected 950 000 travellers to Durban.
Durban mayor Mxolisi Kaunda unveiled the “Durban Sizzling Summer Campaign” last week, which is a promotion campaign to attract travellers to the city ahead of the summer season.
The launch was held at Silokazis wedding and events venue, which overlooks the Inanda Dam. The campaign includes roadshows taking place across the country where Durban Tourism will showcase the city’s many attractions and holidays packages.
Speaking at the event, Kaunda said the City is implementing big plans for the beachfront to ensure that it boasts upmarket facilities.
“This launch is to showcase to visitors that Durban has more, including recreational facilities.”
The mayor confirmed that the famous swimming pools located on the beachfront are currently receiving a facelift and will be ready in time for the summer season.
“The site inspections are already under way at South Beach paddling pool and work is estimated to be completed in October this year.”
Kaunda said Bike and Bean will transform into North Beach Lifestyle, Circus Circus is currently being renovated and will be named Durban Beach Café.
“Minitown, which has been one of the city’s most popular places to visit, will undergo a total transformation, with a mixed-use hotel development which will encompass arts and crafts, kiosks for small businesses, retail spaces, a salon and spa, as well as dining.”
This year alone, Kaunda said Durban has seen a significant influx of 123,364 international passengers at the King Shaka International Airport, marking a 126% increase from the previous year.
Domestic arrivals too have seen a boost, with a 22% rise, amounting to 2.1 million passengers, he said.
“During this year’s summer season, we anticipate an occupancy rate of 62% from 57% achieved last year. Furthermore, we expect over 950 000 visitors to descend on our shores, resulting in a direct spend of over R2.1 billion and R5.2bn contribution to the GDP as well as 10 000 job opportunities.
The mayor assured visitors that when they arrive in Durban, they will find the city clean and beaches in perfect condition as a result of work done to fix sanitation infrastructure, particularly along the coastal line.
“The upgrade of the four wastewater pump stations in eMdloti and repair of the Ohlange pump station have resulted in the opening of the eMdloti Main and uMhlanga Main Beaches which are the main attraction for visitors in the north of Durban. Equally, we have made great progress in the beachfront and in the south of Durban as most beaches remain open in these areas.”
Kaunda said the city’s recreational facilities along the beachfront are also receiving a major facelift and would be ready in time for the summer holiday season.
“However, we are pleased to report that the Rachel Finlayson pool has been fully operational since December last year.
“We are also happy that the construction of Laguna Paddling pool is now complete, and it will be opened in the next few days. Work is already under way at South Beach Paddling pool and we anticipate opening this facility next month. The Children Amusement Centre (CAC) is also undergoing a major overhaul so that it is on par with other amusement centres internationally,” he said.
He said a contractor has just been appointed for the CAC.
The mayor said the City would like to demonstrate to visitors that their safety during the summer holiday season will be guaranteed in Durban.
He said the City continues to beef up law-enforcement personnel in all tourism sites.
“The safety of our visitors and residents remains a priority and to ensure visitors have a safe and memorable holiday in Durban.”
According to Kaunda, Metro Police are doing their best to maintain high visibility in tourist attractions and areas that have identified as crime hotspots in the city.
“The municipality has also set aside R110m to repair all defective CCTV cameras throughout the city with a special focus on areas with high economic activity including tourists’ attractions. Contractor is already on the ground repairing this infrastructure and we anticipate that all cameras will be fully functional by the end of November in time for the festive season,” he said.