Durban nets R19,2?bln from tourism spending

2015-02-05 00:00

DURBAN netted R19,2 billion in direct tourism spending in 2014, a third of which came from the Christmas season alone.

The city’s holiday season and 2014 tourism report released yesterday also showed there had been a 12,8% growth in the number of tourists to 7,9 million.

“Durban has become more fashionable,” said eThekwini Metro Mayor James Nxumalo. “Last year alone Durban ­received global recognition. Durban is a value-for-money destination. It is imperative that we strengthen our public/private partnerships and the tourism industry supports the city’s initiatives.”

Recently the city was recognised by ­entities including CNN, MasterCard, the African Business Review, the Roper City Brand Index and the New York Times magazine.

Durban Tourism head Phillip Sithole said the numbers coming out from 2014 were “surprising”. “We have now realised that we are receiving more tourists from Zimbabwe and Zambia — both of which have direct flights to KZN. USA residents have also become the number one foreign tourist visitors. The growth we are is seeing is clear and this can only be good for job creation,” said Sithole.

He said the city and tourism sector should better target the “low-hanging fruit” such as Gauteng residents.

“Gauteng residents contribute in a big way to the numbers and the spend[ing].”

He said the “surprise” of seeing Umlazi as one of the top three areas visited — after Umhlanga and the CBD — showed positive growth in the townships. “Townships are becoming destinations. The more we promote them, the more people will be attracted to the city.”

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