Big plans for KZN as tourism grows

2018-05-17 06:01

THE tourism sector has defied the economic doldrums in the country and has continued to grow strongly, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala said yesterday.

Speaking on the opening day of the Africa Travel Indaba, Zikalala said tourism is the one sector that has not shed jobs in the province in recent years, in spite of lacklustre economic growth.

Tourism contributes nine percent of South Africa’s GDP and 10% of GDP in KwaZulu-Natal, and “is a powerful job creator”.

During his presentation, Zikalala listed many new KZN-based public and private sector tourism-related expansion and new building projects, as well as other projects to be funded by government organisations, all of which will require capital investments of many tens of billions of rands, in the next few years.

Included in these are plans for a R9,3 billion government precinct in Durban, expansion of the International Conference Centre, the building of an ocean cruise ship terminal, the multibillion Durban Point development, and the R6,1 billion extension of Virginia Airport.

The construction of a R7,3 billion Durban Iconic Tower, which will be the tallest building in the southern hemisphere, is planned, as well as a R7,5 billion Durban Film City precinct.

In addition, many hotels and shopping malls in Durban and along the coast have plans to expand soon, he said.

Yesterday, more than 7 000 delegates (64% international and 36% SA) were expected to attend the indaba, with over 20 000 meetings to be held between exhibitors at the three-day exhibition.

The 26th indaba showcases Africa’s top tourism products, with 31 African countries participating this year, compared with 18 countries in the last financial year.

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