KZN gears up for festive season

Thursday, November 15, 2018

KwaZulu-Natal is set to take its rightful place in the sun this festive season as it gears up to welcome an influx of thousands of tourists and visitors on the province’s shores.

KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala, with eThekwini Municipality mayor Zandile Gumede, has officially launched the festive season, literally opening up the floodgates to an interminable tourist experience.

During the launch, Zikalala and Gumede showcased a number of delightful activities awaiting the visitors, including the two World Heritage Sites, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site and Isimangaliso Wetland Park.

Speaking at the launch in Durban on Thursday, Zikalala said the Midlands provide a unique tourism experience, ranging from energy driven activities such as hiking, gorge swings, rock climbing, as well as 4x4 mountain driving through the fascinating Sani Pass that links the province with Lesotho.

Zikalala said a series of activities and events have also been organised in all parts of the province to ensure that visitors have a fulfilling and rewarding stay in the province.

Over 130 000 international visitors expected

Zikalala said his department was working on attracting no less than 700 000 domestic visitors and 137 000 international visitors, a feat that will see R1.8 billion injected into the provincial economy.

“Over the next two years, we want to grow the tourism impact on the province’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the region of R65 billion to R98 billion. This will enable us to reach our target of creating 183 000 direct jobs over the same period. By 2030, we want to attract at least 3.4 million international visitors,” Zikalala said.

The MEC also urged holiday makers to use registered and graded tourism accommodation establishments, and go to the information offices, if they need information about the province’s exciting tourism products, where staff members will assist them.

“All safety precautions will be undertaken to ensure the safety of the bathers.”

Durban rolls out red carpet for visitors

Gumede said eThekwini was ready for millions of visitors, who will be coming from all corners of the world.

She said Durban will be rolling out the red carpet for everyone who will be coming in the city during the festive season.

“It is the red carpet that is full of love. This is the reason we have themed our campaign as Durban Summer love campaign,” Gumede said.

Gumede said that over the past few years, the municipality has been working with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, and many other stakeholders to market the city.

“About 3.8 million local and international visitors flock to the city of Durban each year, as it is known for its warm climate and exciting warm waters. For the 2018 summer season which starts from 1 December 2018 and ends in February 2019, it is projected that 1.1 million visitors will set foot on Durban shores,” she said.

While promising a safe and incident-free experience, Gumede added that the city was eagerly awaiting a host of activities, including the upcoming Bafana-Bafana Mandela Match, Soweto derby, Crown Gospel awards, #FillUpMabhida, ANC January 8 statement, Durban Jazz, Durban Braai Day and Maskandi festival, amongst others. –