It is safe to travel and explore Durban. This is the reassurance to visitors from eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda. This comes as the City continues with its vigorous tourism rebuilding campaign which is supported by increased security visibility at tourism hotspots.

Mayor Kaunda said this past long weekend Durban recorded 34 500 visitors, a direct spend of R46 million, GDP contribution of R113 million and approximately 31 percent occupancy rate.

Mayor Kaunda welcomed tourists back to the City after the recent civil unrest caused reputational damage to the Durban brand. The City had projected a 50 percent visitor arrival at adjusted lockdown level four if there had been no civil unrest. The occupancy rate between 8 and 17 July was 19 percent – a loss of 31 percent in terms of occupancy rates. The actual economic impact in Durban was a loss of 50 000 visitors, R110 million in direct spend, 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 enforcements 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.

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

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.

“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,” he said.

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

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