Durban - Following three consecutive years of financial destruction in South Africa’s tourism sector in the wake of the pandemic, civil unrest and recent flooding, projects undertaken by eThekwini Municipality together with the private sector could prove fruitful in the coming years.
At the recent African Travel Indaba held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre last week, Durban’s Chairperson for Governance and Human Capital Committee, Nkonsenhle Madlala, said the city’s story is a resilient one.
One of the main catalytic projects ushered into the spotlight by Madlalda and KZN MEC for Economic Development, Ravi Pillay, was the R450-million Durban Eye project. The main focus will be a large Ferris wheel that is going to be built along the new section of the promenade on the Durban beachfront, much like the one along the Thames in England.
“The project is earmarked to be completed and open to the public just in time for 2023 Easter holidays, which will have a huge impact in attracting holidaymakers to Durban,” Madlala said.
The Durban councillor also said that the development of “township tourism” will be a unique selling point for the city’s tourism industry, highlighting Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi and the opening of Octavia Hotel located in Inanda.
With 257 hosted buyers present at the Indaba, SMMEs that took a heavy knock over the last three years had a chance to network with their African counterparts in hopes of regaining lost ground.
Delegates from Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Ghana and Zimbabwe were found at the event, all showcasing their prospects.
Portia Mkhize, owner of Samport Travel, said she did a presentation on her tourism offerings that wowed the African delegates. “I am so excited to start doing business with delegates from Kenya, Botswana, Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia. The African countries are enthusiastic to explore KZN and take exceptional experiences back home,” she said.
Philisiwe Gumede, owner of Cynthia Hive Estate, said she was thrilled to have met many different people from Africa and to build relationships with delegates from Ethiopia, Ghana and Angola. “The delegates from Africa provided such insightful information about their different cultures, religious backgrounds and what they would like to experience in KZN,” she said.
Nkosikhona Ndlovu, owner of Amangonyama Tours said he received great feedback from delegates from Botswana, Zambia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. “I am currently drafting an itinerary for some of the African delegates to travel to KZN in July and have a Zulu traditional cultural experience,” he said.
South African property developer and businessman, Vivian Reddy said that the luxury shopping experience set to come to his latest project, the Oceans in Umhlanga, could attract more tourists as well. He said that much like the Diamond Walk Mall in Sandton, which houses brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Gucci, the Oceans in Umhlanga aims to attract luxury shoppers from SA as well as from throughout the continent. “All of the international brands we are bringing will make a difference. People come from throughout Africa to shop in Sandton because of those brands, and we are going to put them right here in our mall - and that will be a boost for tourism,” Reddy said.