Influx of tourism to KZN provides much needed economic boost
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal received a major economic boost after dozens of people flocked to the province over the long weekend.
As of Thursday, the N3 Toll Concession reported high traffic volumes into the province.
According to the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the Heritage Day celebrations, which some turned into a long weekend, had seen a steady rise in bookings at resorts throughout KZN, according to tourism establishment operators.
“Our entity Tourism KZN will continue to work closely with tourism trade partners, to put together amazing specials that potential travellers can take advantage of, and explore the province with friends, family and loved ones,” she said.
EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the city had noted the influx of visitors.
“Even some of the hotels in the city were fully booked and some had more than a 60% or 70% occupancy rate from Wednesday night.
“Judging from what happened this past weekend, we are hoping that - moving forward - our economy, as the city, will be back to normal in no time,” he said.
The municipality also cautioned beachgoers not to swim at local beaches, as swimming was still prohibited and would be officially allowed from October 1.
“Our beaches have been opened but they are not yet open for bathing.
“We did receive reports of people swimming, but that is not allowed as yet. There are no lifeguards as well, as they are currently undergoing training to operate within the regulations. The shark nets have been recently installed and they require a couple of days for them to sink and be safe enough to deter sharks from approaching the area which we usually occupy,” added Mayisela.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said most tourist attractions had been busy at the weekend.
“We are very excited about the economic activity over the long weekend. We are certain that this will help us in terms of boosting our financial situation, because during the lockdown we had no income,” he said.
The chief executive of Enterprise iLembe Economic Development Agency, Nathi Nkomzwayo, said establishments in the iLembe District were thrilled that they had received a 85% to 90% occupancy rate for the long weekend.
“We’ve undertaken an aggressive marketing campaign to attract tourists to explore iLembe District, and we are beginning to see positive results. We look forward to seeing more tourists in the next few months, while also adhering to the strict protocol measures,” he said.
The chairperson of the Drakensberg Experience Tourism Association, Belinda Spence, said she was ecstatic that all establishments for the Drakensberg Experience had been fully booked over the long weekend.
“Visitors took advantage of day trips to battlefields and museums, rock art, and game viewing,” said Spence.