EThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede launched the start of the festive season (1 December 2018- February 2019) saying that the city is ready to receive the 1.1 million visitors that are expected to set foot on Durban shores during the festive months.

Speaking at the Elangeni Hotel during the launch, Gumede said about
3, 8 million local and international visitors flock to the city of Durban each year for it’s warm climate and warm waters.

“Durban’s tourism sector has become one of the contributors into our economy. Our records have shown that tourists who visit the city have generated over R19, 7 billion. This has helped us in contribution of more than 41 000 jobs,” said Gumede.

MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs,
Sihle Zikalala said that 850 000 domestic visitors and 150 000 international visitors are expected.

“This will see R2.4billion injected into the provincial economy. Over the next two years, we want to grow the tourism impact on the province’s GDP in the region of R65 billion and R98billion.This will enable us to reach our target of creating 183 000 direct jobs over the same period. By 2030, we want to attract at least 3.4 million international visitors,” added Zikalala.

Gumede added that seasonal initiatives will include the Park and Ride system, additional waste disposal services, pop-up markets and additional water safety measures including 12 new jetskis that will be used by lifeguards, 122 extra temporary lifeguards, 105 childminders along the beach front, the wristbands system to prevent children getting lost, 120 seasonal pool lifeguards and 50 pool guides.

Zikalala said that consuming alcohol while enjoying the beach is strictly prohibited. “We appeal to all visitors to our beaches not to consume alcohol prior to swimming.

“Statistics reveal that many near-drowning and drownings occur after the consumption of alcohol. If people notice any violation of liquor regulations and by-laws, please report such to liquor inspectors or the police. Our toll-free Helpline is on 087 232 2333,” he said.

Senior Superintendent for Metro Police, Parboo Sewpersad who was at the launch, said that plans to assist Durban’s many homeless during the festive season were in the pipeline.

“We are trying to fine tune our plan and the safety and security plan in the city with other service units. Homelessness is not a Metro Police problem, but it has become a Metro Police problem, it is a social ill we have inherited over the years,” he said.

Gumede said the theme for the season is ‘Summer Love’.
“We are rolling out the red carpet for everyone who will be coming here in the festive season. It is the red carpet that is full of love,” she added.