As part of continuous efforts to promote local attractions, eThekwini Municipality, led by Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, joined the rest of the world in celebration of World Tourism Day on 29 September. Themed ‘Tourism and green investment’, this year’s celebration aimed to highlight the need for everyone to try and invest in the Sustainable Development Goals.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) through World Tourism Day annually mobilises the global community to work together to address challenges affecting the tourism sector.
The Municipality used the celebration to promote local green tourism and green investments while reminding people of the important role tourism plays.
Mayor Kaunda said the leadership of the Municipality remains committed to ensuring that its initiatives contribute to the City’s strategic goals of empowering rural and township entrepreneurs in the tourism sector.
“For us to reach the full potential in this area, we must ensure that all eThekwini residents have an equal opportunity to become active players in the mainstream economy. It is only by implementing deliberate and targeted investments in rural and township tourism products, that we can achieve meaningful radical socio- economic development in the tourism sector,” he said. “Because local communities are the custodians of culture and are better placed to look after their immediate environment, we believe this is line with this year’s theme of building a tourism sector that promotes a sustainable future,” he added.
Mayor Kaunda said communities must be at the forefront of driving tourism evolution as they share and promote their cultural heritage with the world. The challenge for the Municipality is to continue to find creative ways to profile the City’s hidden gems.
“During the Heritage Day long weekend, thousands of visitors flocked to Durban and estimates indicate that there was over 62 percent occupancy at hotels. The direct spend was R120 million with a contribution of R300 million to the GDP and 1 300 job opportunities created. The highest number of visitors were from Gauteng, Germany, Belgium, China, India, Madagascar, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia.
Most of these visitors were in town to attend South Africa’s premier business exhibition, the Durban Business Fair and Africa’s leading fashion event, the Durban Fashion Fair,” he said.
The City continues to be a venue of choice for major events, which demonstrates that eThekwini remains Africa’s playground. It is also a vote of confidence in the City and its world-class conference facilities and exceptional service. The announcement of Durban as the host of the now sold out MTN 8 final on 7 October at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium also demonstrates that eThekwini is open for business and remains a preferred venue for major sporting events.
eThekwini Weekly Bulletin – pg3 – issue 346