Visitors flock to Durban

2013-12-28 00:00

HOLIDAYMAKERS are expected to leave the city of Durban richer by R2,5 billion when they depart for home at the end of the festive season.

This was the estimate according to the city’s head of tourism, Philip Sithole, who said local hotels had recorded high numbers of bookings.

By the first week of the holiday period an average of 70% of the city’s holiday accommodation had already been booked, he said.

Sithole said hotels to the north and south of the city had been fully booked since December though areas in the outer west, including Pinetown and Hillcrest, were behind in accommodation occupancy rates.

Sithole said although there was some impact on tourism following the death of former president Nelson Mandela, hotel bookings picked up thereafter. “Since December 16 our hotels recorded a daily average of 90% to 95% of occupancy rates. To date, our holiday accommodation, especially the big hotels, remain occupied,” he said.

Sithole said the number of tourists in the city does is not counted purely on accommodation bookings because visitors also stay with friends and family. However, he said the city had done well recording about 900 000 visitors from December 16 to the Christmas week.

“Durban remains a favourite local holiday destination so occupancy rates during the peak periods are always high,” Sithole said.

Durban’s traditionally warm weather and beach festivals bring thousands of holidaymakers to the city from all over the country during the festive season, he said, and that over the five-week holiday period it was expected that at least 1,2 million tourists would visit the city. “We are busy with research on the tourism and the first results will be out by the January 2, followed by the final figure at the end of the festive season.”

Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) East Coast operations manager Charles Preece said that hospitality sector business was booming in Durban and the province generally. He said Durban has been extremely busy since the beginning of the season.

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