The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province is expecting a big influx of tourists due to major events that will be taking place in the next three weeks and the warm weather as a major draw card, says the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr. Sihle Zikalala.
KwaZulu-Natal is looking forward to a massive cash injection as more than 1.2 million domestic holiday makers are expected to flock to the province for the three-week winter school holiday from June 22 until July 17, 2018.
“KZN will pull out all the stops to ensure that holidaymakers are kept entertained with a jam-packed calendar of events in Durban and along the KZN coastline to suit all tastes. “This includes the Vodacom Durban July; The Dundee July, The Soul and Jazz Experience in Richards Bay, the Sardine Festival in Port Edward, the iSimangaliso Trail Challenge in St Lucia, and many more,” added Zikalala.
The winter holidays are the perfect time to pack your bags and head for KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), said Acting CEO for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Phindile Makwakwa.
“This is the ideal time for local tour operators to promote KZN and all its tourism offerings; from the beach to the berg, to the game parks and our many exceptional tourism routes. Tourism contributes eight percent to our gross domestic product and employs 6.5 % of the country’s workforce. It is an important catalyst for the province’s economic transformation.”
Tourism is a major economic booster through its contribution to various other sectors such as hospitality, transport, arts and crafts who form part of the tourism value chain, added Makwakwa.
Charles Preece, East Coast Operational Manager for the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa, (FEDHASA), said the winter holidays was always a good season for the industry with hotel bookings looking solid.
“There is still some space available, but we expect a good season. The East Coast is a favourite destination for inland visitors hoping to escape the cold,” Preece said.
FEDHASA was confident that following last year’s high occupancy levels, this season would be no different. Traffic authorities are further anticipating high traffic volumes to the East Coast this season.
One can expect an influx of vehicles on KZN roads – especially along main routes and around local tourist attractions.
The Vodacom Durban July which will take place on July 7, will rake in large crowds and is expected to attract 50 000 people on race day. The cash injection in 2017 from the VDJ was R260 million into the KZN economy. This year, the contribution to eThekwini’s GDP is forecasted to be about R159 million and contribute R10 million in government taxes as well as creating 320 annual jobs.
The KZN Travel and Adventure which takes place from July 5-8 will also see tourists with a flair for lifestyle tourism, which is also poised to attract 30 000 – 40 000 people in the four days.
KZN is renowned for its mild winter weather, beaches and an array of attractions like uShaka Marine World. KZN has excellent winter climate with warm sunny days ideal for spending time in and out of the surf on long stretches of pristine beach.