KwaZulu Natal may see growth as a corporate destination, thanks to the deliberate efforts of the KZN Tourism Board, and the province’s climate.
According to Garnet Basson, Chief Operating Officer of The Capital Hotels and Apartments, the Tourism Board has invested in a huge drive to promote KZN and Durban as corporate destinations, and says the benefits of this will be seen sooner rather than later.
Winter does not have such an impact on KZN as a corporate destination, unlike Cape Town, with its wet winter climate. The recent water crisis in Cape Town also led to an increase in travel to KZN, including from corporates, says Basson.
But he points out that corporate travel does fluctuate during leisure periods such as school holidays, as these are seen as special-event periods, and corporate rates don’t always apply. Many executives also go on vacation, and corporate events are seldom scheduled during this time, says Basson.
The Capital Pearls in Umhlanga opened at the end of 2017 and, being a new hotel with contemporary design and fittings, it is a premium location of choice for guests and conference organisers.
KZN always has and will continue to successfully host high-profile corporate events and conventions, and continues to get exposure as a top corporate destination, says Basson.
Berg or beach?
KZN is not all about the beach. There has also been renewed interest from corporates and special event organisers of conferences, weddings and celebratory occasions for the province’s Drakensberg regions, says Mark Jakins, group sales, revenue, and marketing director of Premier Hotels and Resorts.
“We are actively marketing weddings and conferences, and the newly refurbished Premier Sani Pass Resort is proving to be a winner,” he says.
Guests at the Premier Resort Sani Pass which has had an R100m (€6.2m) refurbishment can explore the area with 4x4 excursions, horse-riding up the mountain to Lesotho, golf in a mountain setting and swimming in the newly built heated indoor and outdoor pools. In addition to putt-putt, croquet, tennis and volleyball, they can also enjoy fly or bass fishing, relax in the spa, or explore San rock paintings, forests and waterfalls.
Premier Hotels and Resorts have invested R380m (€23.7m) in a four-star Premier Hotel and three-star Splendid Inn in Umhlanga, KwaZulu Natal. Other developments include the Premier Resort Cutty Sark in Scottburgh, KZN, which will undergo an R65m upgrade, with the addition of 50 rooms, leisure and new conference facilities, among others.