from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
DURBAN – THE recent festive season underlined KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) status as the holiday destination of choice for South Africans and international tourists.
The province earned R2,4 billion (US$140,1 million) from the 520 000 domestic tourists and 51 000 international visitors, who came to KZN during the period.
“KwaZulu-Natal is by far the most popular domestic leisure tourist destination for South Africans and this past month was no different,” Siboniso Duma, KZN Member of the Executive Committee for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.
The KZN government is upbeat efforts to revive the tourism sector will yield a positive outcome.
“The role of the tourism sector in the economic transformation of our country and our province is immeasurable,” Duma said.
Tourism is key in the Garden Province, which has the second largest regional economy in South Africa, after Gauteng.
Hotel and other accommodation occupancy rates are a positive indicator of how tourism is improving.
At the beginning of December, Tourism KZN research insights estimated that average hotel occupancy rates for KZN would reach 60 percent at Christmas and New Year.
From 19-to-25 December 2022, average hotel occupancy rate was 57 percent.
However, from December 26 to January 1, 2023, average occupancy rates exceeded expectations, reaching 81 percent.
Duma conceded the reason for the initial low holiday bookings was caused by the closure of the Durban City beaches due to the contamination of water.
“We are working with eThekwini Municipality to ensure that all the beaches are fully functional as soon as possible,” he assured.
– CAJ News