Durban — The national trade association for the hospitality industry in KwaZulu-Natal has said the fruitfulness of this festive season depended solely on service delivery.
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) said the expected domestic and international tourist spend was an estimated R4.1 billion and would be a big boost to the recovery of the tourism sector.
Chairperson of Fedhasa in the province, Brett Tungay, said the emphasis would be on service delivery in KZN’s main tourist areas.
He said that this season the sector faced a few extra challenges that were not present last year.
“It’s going to be quite interesting how that plays out. We have issues with the beaches, with roads, water and sanitation.”
Tungay said bookings were looking good for this month.
According to TKZN research insights, the estimated average hotel occupancy rates for KZN were expected to reach 60% at Christmas and the new year. KwaDukuza was expected to peak at 80%, Hibiscus at 78%, Umdoni at 78%, Okhahlamba at 70% and Umgeni at 64%.
“Now it’s going to very much depend on the areas. We have issues where within a lot of the municipalities the water supply and sanitation, as well as roads, are a challenge,” Tungay said.
He said the crunch would be whether the municipalities could deliver basic services to accommodation and establishments such as restaurants when tourists arrived.
“If this can be done it can be a very good season. A lot is riding on municipalities, which we have not had previously.”
Speaking about the fact that this would be the first festive season in three years without Covid-19 restrictions or regulations, Tungay said: “I think that last year so many people were over Covid that, irrespective of regulations and restrictions, they still went out and had a good time, so I don’t think there will be much difference this year.”
TKZN acting CEO Nhlanhla Khumalo said KZN remained a popular destination for domestic travellers. He said that this summer TKZN was projecting an estimated 760 000 domestic trips and an estimated 58 000 international visitors over the summer season, which spanned December 1 to the end of March.
“KZN is a tourism destination that has it all. Therefore, we are encouraging holidaymakers to explore a mixture of tourism experiences to really create unforgettable memories with their friends and family this summer. For those who have not finalised their holiday plans, do so soon so you don’t miss your most unforgettable summer yet,” he said.
Khumalo assured holidaymakers that KZN beaches were safe and ready to welcome visitors.
At the weekend, eThekwini Municipality unveiled its readiness to host a safe festive season.
Speaking at the event, Brian Mpono, the group corporate affairs and marketing executive for Oceans Umhlanga Mixed-Use Development, said it was important to highlight the steadfast resilience of the City in getting the city this far.
“If you go north of Durban, there are some cities in far worse strain than Durban. Let us celebrate Durban. There is no city in the world that does not have problems,” he said.
Mpono said the Oceans Mall project had made it through Covid-19 and lockdown and had been resilient because of the infrastructure and support from the City