The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) said it continues to receive reports from mayors and tourism stakeholders about clear signs of extraordinary recovery of tourism in the province.
KZN Edtea spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya 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.
He said they were informed of the congestion at toll gates at the peak of the festive season, saying that there were 2 000 vehicles per hour heading towards KZN.
Sibiya said they are also encouraged by the drastic improvements in terms of accommodation bookings compared to last year.
He said on average they saw an occupancy increase of about 2% from the beginning of December – meaning 63,5% up from 61,1% from 2022.
“Supply of bed nights for the week between Christmas and New Year’s day increased by 4% compared to last year. In addition, we are still receiving enquiries about entertainment activities and accommodation with visitors interested in visiting inland, along our coastline and the townships. The interest generated is 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,” said Sibiya.
He added: “We must hasten to point out that apart from a reported increase in traffic along the tourism corridors – N3 and N2 – some of our holidaymakers arrived through our regional airports and King Shaka International Airport. At the right time, the Airports Company of SA will present their official stats in terms of the arrivals through King Shaka. Finally, we salute law enforcement agencies who are deployed to ensure visibility and the safety of our visitors. We thank beachgoers for not drinking and swimming. We must sustain the culture of ensuring the cleanliness of our beaches and all our recreational facilities. As we stated in the past, it should be our responsibility to ensure that the next person has quality time. Towards the end of January, our entity – Tourism KwaZulu-Natal will present detailed tourism figures.”
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