Tourism: dash to the coast begins as businesses close for Christmas

2008-12-16 00:00

The dash to the coast officially began when businesses closed for the Christmas break this week.

James Seymour, general manager, tourism information services at Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN), said the province will be as good as fully booked for Christmas and the tourism industry could bring in as much as R2 billion, despite fears that the country’s economic woes would see people stay at home this year.

He said it appears that most budgeted carefully for their holidays. Many also tightened their belts and, as a result, stays are shorter, overseas holidays have been swopped for local ones and tourists have opted for less luxurious accommodation.

Tourists are looking for value for money and many have taken advantage of special offers.

Seymour explained that, because a holiday is a high-risk purchase — you only know you have chosen well when you reach your destination — “reassuring factors” play a major role in choice of destination.

A good example is the presence of Blue Flag beaches. Michael Bertram, chief executive of South Coast Tourism, said the local municipalities’ substantial investments in growing domestic tourism has borne fruit and the Hibiscus Coast has benefited from maintaining its Blue Flag beaches.

The Hibiscus Coast boasts four Blue Flag beaches and four with pilot Blue Flags. Durban lost the Blue Flag status on its key beaches earlier this year.

Seymour said that while some regions could take a small knock, others will probably do better than last year. The north coast, for example, lost tourism revenue due to massive flood damage last year.

This year, occupancies should be close to 100%, up from last year’s 60%, according to both Seymour and Cheryl Peters, tourism officer for the Ilembe district.

Figures from the Drakensberg suggest a mild downturn, but are good at 70% during the slower run-up to Christmas and about 90% from now onwards.

Seymour said that after a slow start, bookings have also picked up in Durban, with major hotel groups reporting that “things are looking good”.

Bertram said that for the Hibiscus Coast, the season is exceeding expectations. “Things have been cooking on the beaches. People say, ‘This has been a tough year, but we will still have a lekker holiday’.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.