“It is safe to travel and explore Durban.”
This was the word from eThekwini Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, as the city continued its campaign to rebuild the tourism sector supported by increased security visibility.
Kaunda said this past long weekend Durban recorded 34 500 visitors, a direct spend of R46 million, a GDP contribution of R113 million and an approximately 31 percent occupancy rate.
Kaunda welcomed tourists back to Durban after the recent civil unrest caused reputation damage to the city’s brand. The City had projected a 50 percent visitor arrival at adjusted lockdown level four if there had been no civil unrest. The occupancy rate between 8 and 17 July was 19 percent – a loss of 31 percent in terms of occupancy rates. The actual economic impact in Durban was a loss of 50 000 visitors, R110 million in direct spend, R280 million in tourism GDP and 600 jobs.
Kaunda said the municipality had implemented key interventions to ensure a safe and welcoming environment with increased police visibility in key tourism areas. These included the beachfront, airports, the harbour, local businesses and shopping malls.
“We are doing this in collaboration with local community partners and destination stakeholders such as community safety forums as well as urban improvement precincts,” Kaunda said.
The TIA360 eThekwini Tourism Investment Symposium, which was held recently, brought together investment leaders to plan the sustainable recovery of the sector.
He said tourism asset owners and businesses in distress had been encouraged to submit a proposal to be part of the Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme on www.TIA.360
eThekwini is also strengthening tourism partnerships with global entities for sustained destination training and continued awareness so that Durban remains top of people’s minds.
Kaunda said these efforts sought to reassure visitors and the city’s partners in the business tourism sector that everything was on track and safety remains a priority.
“The Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre has major international events lined-up for November and December subject to gathering and travel regulations. The city continues to show positive results as we rebuild. We want to reassure visitors that we are ready to welcome them back to the warmest city,” he said.