Consistency in local tourism can help boost the economy

ANC supporters ditched the ANC manifesto launch to visit the beach instead.

ANC supporters ditched the ANC manifesto launch to visit the beach instead.

Published Feb 26, 2024


Durban — Inconsistency in the Durban tourism infrastructure, like the closure of beaches and intermittent water supply, are among the main facets leading to dwindling local economic development and causing frustrations during the massive influx of visitors to the city when it hosts major events.

This was revealed by Wendy Alberts, chief executive of The Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa). Alberts said big events such as the ANC’s Mayihlome manifesto launch, which led to increased occupancy at hotels, restaurants and tourism outlets, put pressure on the performance of restaurants because of the unsustained jobs that needed to be created in order to be able to cater for the influx of people.

The build-up to the launch build-up comprised activities in Umlazi Mega City and at the Durban ICC. “The industry and the local government need to highlight the devastating effects that the tourism sector experienced last year in Durban and also consider resuscitating the industry so that it can stand the pressure of major events.

“A lot of our restaurants reported that they had a direct benefit over the weekend and some of the hotels indicated that the occupancy increased, but the effect of not having consistency in the occupancy and in such events makes it very difficult for the industry to trade without experiencing hurdles.

“This means that there is a far bigger calling for us to mobilise KZN tourism and put pressure on us to be able to give sufficient accommodation. A lot of restaurants, accommodation and tourism outlets ... as you know, there have been a lot of jobs that have been lost, which has caused a decline in the economy,” said Alberts.

She further said the tourism sector needed to collaborate with local government in order to be able to maintain sustainable economic development.

“By virtue, Durban is definitely a destination by choice which has always been a welcoming, sunny part of our country with a beautiful part of our landscape that lends itself to many international visitors to enjoy the weather and what is to offer,” she added.

Brett Tungay, East Coast chairperson of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa), said large events were very beneficial to the tourism and hospitality sector.

“The ICC is one of the venues in Durban that brings in business for the city, with delegates coming from all over the country who need accommodation and meals that benefit the local economy,” he said.

Bongiwe Mthembu, of Mayville, was one of the street vendors selling merchandise at the events. Mthembu said being an informal trader helped to provide for her family.

On Sunday, the City announced the shutdown of the northern aqueduct pipeline to install new valves as part of its continuous efforts to restore water supply to areas that have experienced prolonged water outages in the north.

Last week, eThekwini Municipality said three swimming beaches closer to the Umgeni River did not meet water quality standards, but assured the public that water quality at the remaining 20 were within acceptable standards.

WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.

Daily News