KwaZulu-Natal tourism sector booming post Covid-19

The mayor of eThekwini, Mxolisi Kaunda, at the Africa Travel Indaba 2023. Picture: Thuli Dlamini

The mayor of eThekwini, Mxolisi Kaunda, at the Africa Travel Indaba 2023. Picture: Thuli Dlamini

Published May 9, 2023


Durban – The mayor of eThekwini, Mxolisi Kaunda, said there had been tangible improvements in the KwaZulu-Natal tourism sector post Covid-19.

He was speaking at the official opening of the Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI) 2023 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre on Tuesday.

Kaunda said the eThekwini Municipality has had meetings, conferences and workshops to develop relevant products and craft appropriate messages to attract visitors to shops since the return to full business activity post the pandemic.

“Guided by the Durban tourism visitor marketing strategy, we are working tirelessly to grow this niche market by partnering with our major convention centres, as well as national and international events organisers,” said Kaunda.

He said recent statistics indicated that about 80% of meetings, incentive conferences and exhibition businesses had recovered since the advent of Covid-19.

He said the ATI took place at a time when the long-term tourism and travel focus globally was positive.

“It is also important to note that some countries are already experiencing pre-Covid-19 growth levels, and Durban is beginning to derive tangible benefits from these trends.

“During the recent long weekend we experienced an occupancy rate of 76%, while the direct spend of visitors was estimated at R230 million with a gross domestic product (GDP) contribution of R739 million. For the entire year, the city has congested 2. 9 million domestic visitors and 184 639 international visitors,” said Kaunda.

He said this indicated that the KZN tourism sector was on the road to recovery.

“We are aware of the challenges brought by the global economic crisis and the adverse effect it may have on luxury travel and tourism in general.

“To respond to these challenges, the city is working closely with product owners to ensure that we offer affordable prices to our visitors, therefore we can attribute the increase in the number of visitors in our city through this initiative,” said Kaunda.

He said the city continued to capitalise on major international events including sports and Africa’s greatest horse racing and social events such as the Hollywoodbets Durban July to attract more international visitors.

KZN MEC for Economic Development and Environmental Affairs Siboniso Duma delivering his speech during the Tourism Indaba opening ceremony at the Durban ICC. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

KwaZulu-Natal Economic MEC for Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs Siboniso Duma said it was important for ATI attendees to visit all exhibitions in the duration of the three-day event, including the Tourism KwaZulu-Natal stand.

“We are part of shaping Africa’s tomorrow through the connections we make over the next three days because tourism is a cornerstone in economic growth and transformation,” said Duma.

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