THERE were positive signs of recovery for tourism in KwaZulu-Natal over the festive season as occupancy rates showed a slight increase.
This is according to KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma who said the influx of holidaymakers to different parts of the province helped boost local economies with jobs created in the process.
According to figures released by the department at the peak of the festive season, 2 000 vehicles were coming through the N3 Toll Concession per hour.
“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 see an occupancy increase by about 2% from the beginning of December – meaning 63.5% up from 61.1% from last year. We are encouraged by the drastic improvements in terms of accommodation bookings compared to last year,” Duma said.
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“In addition, we are still receiving enquiries in relation to entertainment activities and accommodation with visitors still interested in visiting inland, along our coastline and the townships. The interest generated is as a result of hard work by our entities – Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, KZN Sharks Board, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Gaming & Betting and 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 the corners of the province.”
He added that the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) will soon present their official stats in terms of the arrivals through King Shaka International Airport.
Duma said Tourism KwaZulu-Natal will present a more detailed analysis of tourism numbers over the festive period towards the end of January.