Hope for KZN tourism as visitor numbers pick up

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Television personality Unathi Nkayi (right) and Ayob Vania pondering the breathtaking scenic views from their hot air balloon, which launched from Granny Mouse hotel.
Television personality Unathi Nkayi (right) and Ayob Vania pondering the breathtaking scenic views from their hot air balloon, which launched from Granny Mouse hotel.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal is on an aggressive marketing drive to boost visitor numbers in the Midlands, and hosted television and radio personality Unathi Nkayi at the weekend.

Among the things Nkayi and a group of friends did was to go on a hot air balloon, which launched from the Granny Mouse hotel. They also took part in paintballing at the Yellowwood action combat paintball centre on the Midlands Meander.

Marian Evans, general manager of Midlands Meander, said the Midlands and Drakensberg tourism sector is resilient and fighting to bring back tourism to its former glory after suffering a devastating blow from the Covid-19 restrictions.

Evans added that overall, hotel occupancy rates in the province are gradually increasing, according to the latest statistics from Tourism KZN’s tourism performance report for the fourth quarter of 2020.

December’s occupancy rate of 51,9% was the second highest in the country for the month, and the best in the province since February last year. She said that on the Meander visitor numbers have increased, particularly over the weekends. Midweek bookings are also picking up.

READ | Hopes up for KZN Midlands and Berg tourism

Evans added that accommodation has an effect on retailers, adventure and foodie finds.

“The ideal situation is to have domestic travellers within the region on a continual basis for small team-building conferences and also leisure stays and adventure tours and the hosting of weddings.”

Evans said the Midlands Meander board is devising new strategies and coming up with innovative ideas to boost tourism. An example, she said, is to partner with Tourism KZN to increase visitor traffic.

“We are looking at plans to work within the regulations, within all business in the region, to ensure safety regulations and be mindful of restrictions.”

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