CAPE TOWN – Local tourists are flocking to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in record numbers, since the Covid-19 outbreak, says KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala.
As of September 21, the country officially entered Alert level one of the nationwide lockdown and more regulations were eased. South Africa has been on lockdown since March 26 to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
According to Zikalala, the occupancy rate at leisure venues is growing at a rapid pace and some people are beginning to struggle to get accommodation due to places getting fully booked.
“Midlands Meander is sitting at 95 percent, while uMgungundlovu has recorded a 75 percent occupancy rate; eThekwini metro 65 percent, ILembe 60 percent, Amajuba 50 percent, and Ugu and Zululand are at 30 percent.We are excited to see that there are already ‘good or nice-life problems’ that we are hearing about in the hospitality industry,” said Zikalala.
With the tourism sector, being one of the biggest contributors to job-creation, Zikalala mentioned that they were in discussions with some hotel and resort owners, whose businesses suffered as a result of the Coronavirus.
“Government is in discussions with the owners in pursuit of a solution that will ensure the sustainability of this iconic tourism product on the North Coast of our destination while safeguarding jobs.
“We are adamant that by re-opening its doors, our tourism ‘recovery’ plan should not mean a mere return to old pre-Covid-19 ways of doing things. This is a time for all of us to double our efforts and inject a renewed sense of verve and vigour into our work, in order to realise and fully exploit the country’s vast and diverse tourism potential,” added Zikalala.
There are several developments taking place in the province; South Africa’s first Hilton Garden Inn establishment is scheduled to open at Umhlanga Arch in November 2020. Durban’s Edward Hotel on Durban’s Golden Mile (beachfront) will re-open in November 2020 under the full ownership of Tsogo Sun Hotels, which was a previous shareholder.
“These investments are encouraging and are huge signs of confidence in our hospitality sector,” concluded Zikalala.
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