from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE just-concluded Heritage Day festivities are projected to have earned eThekwini municipality R120 million (US$6,3 million) in direct spend and injection of R300 million to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Some 1 300 jobs were created during the September 22-25 weekend.
Estimates indicate that there was over 65 percent occupancy rate for accommodation establishments.
Statistics indicate that the highest number of visitors were from Gauteng province.
There were also visitors from outside South Africa, including Belgium, Cameroon, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
Most of these visitors were in town to attend South Africa’s premier business exhibition, the Durban Business Fair and Africa’s leading fashion event, the Durban Fashion Fair.
On Sunday, eThekwini hosted the official National Heritage Day celebration at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu, which was attended by thousands of people.
The celebration also served to officially resume the National Indigenous Games Festival, taking place at Hoy Park from September 24 to 30.
The aim of the games is to showcase South African indigenous games.
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has won the national games on 12 consecutive occasions. The games are held simultaneously with the Beautiful Things Craft Exhibition.
eThekwini Deputy Mayor, Zandile Myeni, said the city is known for its capability of hosting major events.
“By the look of things, we are speedily returning to pre-COVID 19 numbers by being the continent’s events and sports capital,” she said.
“People still regard Durban as Africa’s playground because we have world class facilities as well as limitless experiences to offer from the sea, sand, outdoor adventure, sports, heritage, a township vibe, and vibrant nightlife.”
Myeni also applauded the announcement that the local Moses Mabhida Stadium will host the MTN 8 final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and defending champions Orlando Pirates on October 7.
She noted sports tourism remained a major contributor to the growth of the tourism industry in the city.
“We look forward to this exciting weekend,” Myeni said.
The eThekwini’s Sizzling Summer campaign is ongoing.
Ephraim Mbatha, founder of Qalakahle Lodge, a four-star guesthouse, thanked the municipality for attracting big events.
The establishment has four branches, including one in Avoca Hills that was fully booked over the long weekend.
“These big events make us as a business sustainable,” Mbatha said.
He was also grateful for other development opportunities such as the Durban Business Fair.
“I started exhibiting in 2008 and the platform has greatly assisted us in terms of networking and building a clientele base,” Mbatha said.
– CAJ News