KZN's new website to draw tourists

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
By: 
Kemantha Govender

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal's new website will help tourists to make last minute bookings for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and beyond.

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, KZN Tourism and FEDHASA have launched the website, www.durbanlastminute.co.za, on Tuesday.

The stakeholders want to signal a clear message - and that is Durban is open for business and that there is plenty of accommodation available across KZN.

The idea for the campaign came about a month ago after an assessment of hotel bookings in Durban showed lower figures.

City's Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo said the province wanted to apply special attention to markets closer to home.

"We need to look at how we market our products to the SADC region and other African countries. There has to be focus on getting other parts of Africa to South Africa," said Naidoo.

A view fully supported by Ndabo Khoza, KZN tourism Chief executive, who estimates that a very low percentage of landlock countries have seen the oceans.

"There is an opportunity here. We must not forget about these countries. And with the new King Shaka International Airport - we have an opportunity to get direct flights. So this campaign must focus on the regional groups," said Khoza.

Khoza added that it is important to address the "so-called issues of non-availability of accommodation and high costs" when it comes to visiting Durban.

Key officials at the launch urged all B&B's, guesthouses, lodges and hotels in Durban to register, free of charge, on the website which will go live from midnight.

The web portal is not merely a website but is a "loyalty" platform as well as a booking engine.

It includes a "real-time" availability feed for bookings, where members cab get extra instant prizes for being a sequentially selected participant when placing an order.
A call centre will be operational for the next six weeks to ensure smooth operations for bookings.

The campaign will also be taken to Gauteng, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

Akash Singh, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, also urged South African residents to start an email campaign in which 1 million emails must be sent from today until next week, to tell other people about Durban and its warm hospitality.

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