The city of Durban had a much-needed economic injection into the tourism industry this Easter weekend after suffering losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Easter period provided an opportunity for the tourism industry to accelerate recovery after lockdown regulations had a detrimental impact on the economic prospects of the tourism industry.
eThekwini municipality said the indicators show that 45 000 visitors descended to the city for the Easter break. As a result, the hospitality industry saw hotel occupancy rates peak at an average of 60%.
The local economy received a boost with direct spending at approximately R60 million and a GDP contribution of around R150 million, with a total of 320 actualised jobs over this period.
eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said Durban has been working hard since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure the tourism and hospitality industry remains visitor ready within the necessary health guidelines.
“We have been on an aggressive marketing campaign in order to ensure that we remain top of mind as a tourism destination and these numbers are proving that we are on the right track,” said Kaunda.
Durban’s beachfront promenade, restaurants around the city and the township establishments were among the most popular attractions for holidaymakers who had made their way from the various inland destinations across the country.
“The City has invested over R33 million in developing and maintaining this key asset (beach promenade) as part of its Economic Recovery Plan, which focused on reinvigorating the domestic tourism sector.
“This investment as well as other existing initiatives, including the recently announced Blue Flag beaches, paves the way for eThekwini to dominate and grow domestic tourism, an extremely important contributor to our local employment and economy,” said Kaunda.
He said Durban remains open and ready to welcome more visitors and the city is hoping that this momentum will continue to grow ahead of the winter period.
The city has vowed to continue with its aggressive marketing efforts in order to ensure that Durban remains a popular choice for all potential visitors.
Some of the initiatives include the launch and unveiling of new products and hidden gems, collaborations with other value chain stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors.