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On Friday, myself and mayors of ILembe and KwaDukuza municipalities, we were joined by national media houses and beachgoers as part of summer season activation campaign.
The event was a culmination of months of meetings under the auspices of the KZN Tourism and Investment Committee. This structure is comprised of mayors, public entities and tourism associations.
We want to make an undertaking to tourists from various parts of the country that KZN is the place to be this festive season.
In particular, stakeholders in the hospitality industry are inundated with calls and bookings from holidaymakers.
For our visitors, as media houses posted audio-visuals in various social media platforms, memories of our warm and safe beaches came swimming back.
Our visitors are yearning to return to the coast and paddle out in the early morning at the Durban’s beachfront, Ballito, Amanzimtoti, Shelly Beach, Margate, Mthunzini, Richards Bay up to Kosi Bay.
Through our agencies - KZN Tourism Authority, KZN Sharks Board, KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife, Gaming & Betting and KZN Liquor Authority we are teaming up with events planners, tourism agencies and associations to ensure that there is a line-up of activities throughout the corners of the province.
We are offering music events, sporting activities, fine dining in restaurants and entertainment spots located in the suburbs, townships and rural areas.
Clearly, there is a lot on offer for individuals and couples. In this province we also have world-class shopping malls and recreational facilities for families and children.
Our very own Ezemvelo Wildlife manages the largest eco-tourism operations which gives this province a competitive edge.
Ezemvelo manages more than 114 protected areas and close to 40 facilities that provide accommodation to more than thousands of people per night.
These include camp sites such as Didima, Giant’s Castle and Hilltop in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and Ntshondwe in Ithala Game Reserve.
Based on figures from TKZN our 2022 record-breaking holiday season turnout, we are expecting a 69% occupancy over December and some 845 000 visitors of which 52 000 will be international tourists.
The expected contribution to our provincial economy over the festive season will be around R3,6 billion.
Having activities throughout KZN, we will ensure that local economies are stimulated through this sector of our economy. For instance, visitors spent R2.2 billion in the iLembe district.
This in turn, translated into a R3,4 billion overall contribution to the province’s GDP. Tourism supported 7 255 jobs and contributed R816 million to local household incomes.
Already the iLembe district is reporting that holiday accommodation bookings are at 80% and they expect to be fully booked from 15 December that’s next week to the first week of January 2024.
Finally, he safety of our visitors is critical. Law enforcement agencies have been deployed to ensure visibility.
We are also requesting beachgoers not to drink and swim.
We have ensured the deployment of safety nets to protect beachgoers against shark attacks.
Let us also maintain the cleanliness of our beaches and all our recreational facilities to ensure that the next person has quality time throughout the festive season.
Issued by the KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Siboniso Duma