Work has begun on KZN Club Med resort

An artist impression of the Club Med Tinley resort. Picture: Supplied.

An artist impression of the Club Med Tinley resort. Picture: Supplied.

Published May 20, 2024


Durban — The Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI) held in Durban has again turned the spotlight on tourism investment in KwaZulu-Natal, with French travel and tourism giant Club Med confirming – at a breakfast hosted by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal this week – that it had begun construction of its R2 billion resort along the North Coast to be known as Club Med Tinley.

Olivier Perillat, managing director of Club Med SA, said the project, which was due to open in July 2026, would be a force for regional growth and had already stirred considerable interest within the global travel market.

Club Med, which either owns or operates nearly 80 all-inclusive resort villages worldwide as well as cruise liners, is known for identifying lesser-known destinations for development. Although KwaZulu-Natal attracts some international visitors, it still lags behind other areas such as the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

Over the past year, 646 234 international visitors arrived in the province and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal expects this to reach the 800 000 mark during the coming year, which will surpass 2019 arrivals.

The Club Med opening is expected to boost these numbers significantly from 2026 onwards.

The 32000-hectare Tinley beach resort, together with its 30000ha Big Five bush lodge satellite which will soon break ground in northern Zululand, is the first resort of this size to be built in South Africa since Sun City over four decades ago.

Perillat said Club Med Tinley would create an estimated 800 direct jobs on opening as well as 1500 indirect jobs and 1200 employment opportunities during construction.

He added that, as an international investor, Club Med, together with its local development partner, the Collins Residential Consortium, would focus on respecting local culture and heritage and promoting sustainability during construction and operations. One such initiative was cutting down on single-use plastics.

According to Perillat, the new resort will adhere to Green Building Certification Standards during construction and will be Green Globe Certified for operations. This global system recognises resorts that are committed to sustainable management, which includes contributing to uplifting local communities both economically and socially and respecting cultural heritage and the environment.

The development partners are also collaborating with non-profit organisation Agrisud to support the growth and development of local businesses within the resort’s supply chain.

Perillat noted that the beach resort, which will have a one kilometre-long sea frontage, will add 342 hotel rooms and 66 villas to the province’s accommodation offering. This translates into an additional 175963 annual room nights.

The attached conference centre will cater for 500 seated delegates, he said.

It will also include a nautical centre, provide water sports and water recreation together with a leisure centre and village club.

The bush resort, with its 80-room lodge, will be accessed either via road or air charter.

Club Med Tinley was not the only tourism investment opportunity within the province showcased during the indaba.

The provincial government said that 15 catalytic brown and greenfield developments worth at least R9.4bn was also on the cards.

Although no clear time frames were provided for developments across the province, including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s commercialisation strategy, the majority are expected to be private sector-led.

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said they were expected to create more than 3000 jobs during construction and more than 3000 permanent jobs on opening.

Other private sector developments included Westown, the mega residential and leisure development planned for Shongweni, which will plug into surrounding tourism infrastructure such as Giba Gorge and the Valley of a Thousand Hills, and the proposed new Ernie Els golf course at Zimbali Lakes.

Sunday Tribune