from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – MORE international tourists than ever have visited South Africa’s tourism hub, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, disclosed the figures as the curtain came down on Heritage Month, marked in September.
Provincial head of the department, Siboniso Duma, revealed that KZN welcomed 969 765 visitors during the first quarter of this year (2023), a sign that tourism was on its way to recovery.
He noted that the number of foreign visitors to KZN rose to 164 000 in the first quarter of the year.
“This is the highest since the end of 2020 and indicates a recovery in our foreign market,” Duma said.
“We express our appreciation to the representatives of the entire travel industry, tour operators, brand strategists, creative directors, public relations practitioners, marketers, celebrities and other professionals who have been working with us to rebuild the tourism sector.”
Last year alone, through hosting national and international conferences, about R2 billion (US$106 million) was injected into the local economy.
Meanwhile, Duma assured stakeholders in the tourism industry that efforts were being made to ensure adequate supply of water ahead of summer holidays and beyond.
Last Thursday, he addressed the legislature and outlined how the more than R12 billion allocated by the Department of Water and Sanitation was being spent to repair water infrastructure and to build new dams.
Water supply is a critical issue in South Africa.
Some 47 people have died of cholera in the Gauteng province.
– CAJ News