Durban mayor states City on the up, following huge “looter-losses”

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Due to the global pandemic, lockdown restrictions, and the recent civil unrest, the tourism sector has taken a serve knock throughout the province. Despite this, eThekwini Municipality (Durban) is not taking the situation lying down. “It is safe to travel and explore Durban”. This being the reassurance given to visitors from eThekwini Mayor, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda.

The announcement follows the City continuing its vigorous tourism rebuilding campaign, supported by increased security visibility at tourism hotspots.

Additionally, Mayor Kaunda said this past long weekend, Durban recorded 34 500 visitors, a direct spend of R46 million, a GDP contribution of R113 million and approximately a 31% occupancy rate. The Durban mayor further welcomed tourists back to the City, especially after the recent civil unrest caused reputational damage to the Durban brand. The City initially projected a 50% visitor arrival at adjusted lockdown level four if there had been no civil unrest. 

However, the occupancy rate between 8 July 2021 and 17 July 2021 was 19% – a dramatic loss of 31%. The actual economic impact on Durban was a loss of 50 000 visitors, R110 million in direct spending, R280 million in tourism GDP and 600 jobs.

To revive the tourism industry, Mayor Kaunda said the Municipality has implemented key interventions to ensure a safe and welcoming environment, that will see increased visibility of law enforcement agents at key tourism strategic points and zones. These include the beachfront, airports, the harbour, at local businesses and at shopping malls to mention a few.

He emphasised, “We are doing this in collaboration with local community partners and destination stakeholders such as community safety forums as well as urban improvement precincts.”

As part of restoring investor confidence in eThekwini, action-driven collaborations with stakeholders to boost and attract investment is ongoing.

The TIA360 eThekwini Tourism Investment Symposium, which was held recently, brought together investment leaders to collectively plan for the sustainable recovery of the sector.

Tourism asset owners and business service providers whose business is in distress but sees the potential in their business are encouraged to submit their proposal to be part of the Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme on www.TIA.360

Furthermore, there is enhanced community development and collaborations like the ‘Know Your City’ campaign encouraging local people to explore their own City and become ambassadors thus boosting the sector’s revenue.

In addition, eThekwini is strengthening tourism partnerships with global entities for sustained destination training and continued awareness so that Durban remains top of people’s minds.

Mayor Kaunda said these efforts seek to reassure visitors and the City’s partners in the business tourism sector that everything is on track and safety remains a priority.

Mayor Kaunda elaborated, “The Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre has major international events lined up for November and December subject to gathering and travel regulations. The City continues to show positive results as we rebuild. We want to reassure visitors that we are ready to welcome them back to the warmest City.” 

For more information, visit www.visitdurban.travel or follow Durban Tourism on Facebook @Durban Tourism or Twitter and Instagram @DBNTourism.

What are your thoughts on the eThekwini Municipality’s efforts to enhance its tourism sector? Share your views in the comment section below.

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