Master plan to lure tourists to KZN

2013-09-11 00:00

“A DO-ABLE plan” — that’s how Michael Mabuyakhulu, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT), described the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Master Plan when launching it at Ballito’s Fairmont Zimbali resort north of Durban yesterday.

“We are the only province to have such a plan and it identifies the things we want to achieve by 2030,” said Mabuyakhulu. “It identifies the growth sectors of the future … It shows us where to go and how to better ourselves against our competitors.”

Among the growth targets are to increase direct income of the provincial tourism industry from R22 billion in 2009 to R111,6 billion by 2030 and the number of foreign tourists from 862 450 in 2009 to 2,18 million by 2030.

“By 2030, KwaZulu-Natal will be known globally as Africa’s top beach destination with a unique blend of wildlife, scenic and heritage experiences.”

Among the key challenges addressed by the plan are the current fragmentation of tourism planning and the complex institutional environment. It also highlights the need for new tourism icons. “If we are to be competitive we must identify our weaknesses,” said Mabuyakhulu.

These icons were announced by Mabuyakhulu at the Durban Tourism Indaba in May 2012 and they include a cableway in the Mnweni area of the Drakensberg, a giant statue of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona at the Tugela river mouth, and a bridge to rival that of Sydney’s from the Point to the Bluff in Durban that can open to accommodate shipping.

A feasibility study giving the thumbs up to the Drakens­berg cableway was released in July and a four-month consultation period with stakeholders is currently under way. The other projects are under discussion at provincial cabinet level. “We will make an announcement when we are comfortable to do so,” Mabuyakhulu told The Witness.

He emphasised the role of the private sector in growing tourism. “Tourism is private sector driven, but community based,” he said, adding that government’s role was to create a conducive environment for tourism and the provision of necessary infrastructure, such as good roads.

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