Guests will visit attractions like the five-star Zimbali Coastal Resort near Ballito

In a bid to encourage more incoming tourism, Durban is today hosting forty tour operators and travel agents from across South Africa and the continent to get first-hand experience of the Zulu Kingdom.

This gathering of influential agents, many of them from SADC countries, forms part on the annual KZN Travel Academy hosted by Tourism KZN. The agents are meeting local hospitality product owners from around the region and, at a later point, exploring various tourism hotspots in KwaZulu-Natal. 

The agents include the likes of Springbok Atlas, whose key markets are the UK, the Americas and Germany and Thompsons Africa, which brings tourists from the UK, Germany, the USA, China and India to KwaZulu-Natal. Other tour operators deal with other key markets in Africa as well as a range of clients in several European countries.

“We are thrilled to be hosting this Travel Academy for the second year and it’s good to see that it is becoming a must attend Academy for our Trade partner, which shows that it is becoming a valuable tool for them to better sell and package KZN,” said Phindile Makwakwa, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of TKZN.

“There is nothing better than seeing and getting a feel for a destination. It is also going to be very worthwhile for them to meet our local trade partners like hotels, B&Bs and the various attractions and destinations-and to partner with them to offer their customers back home and around the world good deals and packages about KZN. The whole idea is to convert their new-found knowledge and experiences into bookings and to keep KZN top of mind when they return home and interact with their clients.

“The ultimate aim is for them to recommend KZN for holidays, so that we grow the number of international arrivals into the province. This will boost our economy and, create and sustain jobs in the all-important tourism sector."

Guests will visit attractions like the five-star Zimbali Coastal Resort near Ballito, the Luthuli Museum at Groutville and iLembe Winery at the Collisheen Estate outside Ballito.

After their workshop and networking sessions with the KZN trade, they will go on one of three tours: to the Elephant Coast, the Drakensberg and battlefields and to the Midlands.

“They are going to be very busy and will make new contacts and friends. And we will make sure that they take home some special KZN memories,” Makwakwa concluded.