Plans to revive Durban’s tourism sector – including highlighting the city’s key attractions as part of a marketing campaign and tightening security – took a step forward this week when the City of Durban hosted the Tourism Imbizo where captains of industry and eThekwini Municipality leadership presented collective ideas on reviving the tourism economy.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, who hosted the Imbizo, highlighted that Durban had a number of competitive advantages that could be leveraged to help revive tourism in the city following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include the Golden Mile, which has clean and safe beaches, state-of-the-art conference venues, cultural heritage, outdoor adventure and sport tourism.
“We will further utilise Re-Ignite Durban programme, introduced in September 2020, and additionally promote Durban as a safe tourist destination,” he said.
Beach tourism, events and sports were also counted amongst key activities that the City is determined to leverage while ensuring tourist and supplier compliance with all COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
General Manager of Beverly Hills Hotel and Chairperson of the Durban Chamber of Commerce Tourism Forum, John Aritho, highlighted the need to ensure visibility in the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. “This sector was truly hard hit, therefore I believe this will assist in instilling confidence in potential visitors.”
Aritho added that the City should also implement marketing destination roadshows to accelerate the sector recovery.
Kaunda acknowledged some of the pre-COVID legacy issues affecting tourism that also needed to be addressed, including ensuring the physical safety of tourists.
He said Durban was the first city to launch the Integrated Safer Cities Project through the South African Police Service (SAPS).
“Around R52m (€2.8m) has been allocated for Inanda, KwaMashu and Umlazi areas to put more CCTV cameras. These areas continue to be the top crime hotspots in the country. We are further pleased that a specialised SAPS unit has been recently created in Inanda. Our programme to install CCTV cameras in all our tourism sites is being accelerated,” said Kaunda.