KZN South Coast hopeful about its Easter tourism numbers following high festive season turnout

Trafalgar Beach, one of the KZN South Coast's Blue Flag beaches. Picture: Supplied

Trafalgar Beach, one of the KZN South Coast's Blue Flag beaches. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 13, 2024


Following a bumper festive season with tourism establishments reporting full occupancy rates, the South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise (SCTIE) said that it is hopeful for good numbers during the upcoming Easter travel period.

According to SCTIE acting CEO Deborah Ludick, the occupancy rates are a very positive indicator of the region’s growing tourism economy and shows that the KZN South Coast is offering visitors what they want, a nature-based experience that is affordable for the whole family.

“Reports from our bigger tourism establishments between Christmas and New Year indicated 100% occupancy rates.

“This is particularly significant considering the high rainfall experienced over December, something we believe is a testament to our diverse tourism assets and welcoming environment,” said Ludick.

Corné Alberts, Group Marketing Manager for ANEW Hotels & Resorts, backed up the SCTIE’s observations and revealed that the ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest, near Harding, experienced a “positive performance” with the majority of guests visiting from inland provinces.

“Despite the lingering effects of the pandemic, we observed a steady year-on-year increase, indicating a strong post-Covid recovery with an increased occupancy rate in 2023 compared to previous years.

“However, it's essential to acknowledge that the growth has been somewhat tempered by factors such as increased fuel and living expenses,” said Alberts.

She highlighted that the region's cultural heritage, vibrant local communities and a range of recreational activities, such as water sports and nature trails, contribute to its appeal and make it a major drawcard.

“Feedback from guests has been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing satisfaction with our services, facilities and the overall experience. The positive sentiment bodes well for future visits, indicating a likelihood of return visits,” said Alberts.

Leonard Gomo, General Manager of Margate Sands, reinforced the SCTIE’s observations and said that it also saw an increase on previous years’ occupancy rates.

“We enjoyed a 6.5% increase from last year’s occupancy of 89.18%. The majority was retained business with visitors happy with the assurance that load shedding and water shedding would not ruin their holidays, plus the abundance of Blue Flag beaches found here,” said Gomo.

Michael Bester of One Way Productions, tasked with running the free-to-attend Let's Go Summer 2023/24 programme at KZN South Coast beaches, said the weather was challenging on days, but visitors still came out in their numbers to participate.

“With the current economy and our tourism offerings, we are a first-choice holiday destination. Our gorgeous beaches, golf courses, affordable accommodation establishments and great entertainment venues put us at the forefront of holiday choices.

“Our beaches were clean and open over the summer season and, even with challenging weather conditions, people could still have an amazing holiday on the KZN South Coast,” said Bester.