KZN tourism bounces back thanks to influx of holidaymakers

On busy days during this festive season, thousands of vehicles were crossing into KZN per hour, boosting the local tourism economy.

Tourism in KZN seems to have returned with a bang this festive season, showing a 4% growth from the same period between Christmas and New Year in 2022.

This was revealed by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Siboniso Duma.

In a statement, Duma said the department continues to receive reports from mayors and tourism stakeholders about clear signs of extraordinary recovery of tourism in the province.

He said the influx of holidaymakers to different parts of the province has ensured the stimulation of other sectors of local economies with jobs created in the process.

At the peak of the festive season, there were over 2000 vehicles heading towards the province on an hourly basis.

“The supply of bed-nights for the week between Christmas and New Year’s day increased by 4% compared to last year. On average, we have seen an occupancy increase of about 2% from the beginning of December, meaning 63,5% up from 61,1% in 2022.

“We are still receiving enquiries about entertainment activities and accommodation, with a lot interest in tourism attractions inland, along our coastline and the townships.”

He added that the interest generated is as a result of hard work by entities such as Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, KZN Sharks Board, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Gaming and Betting and the KZN Liquor Authority.

“Ahead of the festive season, we teamed up with events planners, tourism agencies, associations and municipalities to roll out a line-up of activities throughout all the corners of the province. We offered music events, family and sporting activities, fine-dining restaurants and entertainment spots located in the suburbs, townships and rural areas.”

Duma also pointed out that, apart from reported increase in traffic along the tourism corridors, mainly the N3 and N2, some holidaymakers entered the province via regional airports and King Shaka International Airport.

“At the right time, the Airport Company of SA will present their official statistics in terms of the arrivals through King Shaka. We were informed by the N3 Toll Concession that at the peak of the festive season, there were 2 000 vehicles per hour heading towards our beautiful province.

“It should be our responsibility to ensure that each tourist has quality time in our province.

“We are encouraged by the dramatic improvements in terms of accommodation bookings compared to last year.”

Duma said towards the end of January Tourism KwaZulu-Natal will present detailed tourism figures.

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