Destination Durban loses favour with visitors

DWINDLING visitors to Durban over the festive season is behind a renewed motivation by the city’s Economic Development and Planning Committee for funding to market the city more aggressively as a holiday destination.

The internal report revealed that visitor figures had declined drastically over the past three years, impacting on jobs and the local economy. According to the report, during the 2017.18 holiday period 888 867 visitors were recorded compared to the 1.1 million the previous year and 1.3 million in the 2015/16 financial year.

The lower figures are also relfected in the season spend which showed a decline of R1.6 billion over the three years under review. In the 2017/18 financial year, season spend was R3 billion, down from R4.4 billion in 2016/17 and R4.6 billion in 2015/16. The affect on unemployment reveals that sustained jobs delcined from 10 971 in 2015/16 to 7 178 in 2017/18.

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The report claimed that Moses Mabhida Stadium and uShaka Marine World had also been affected and showed a decline in revenue compared to previous years, with Moses Mabhida showing the most severe decline with almost half the number of visitors than recorded the previous year.

In an effort to halt the downward trend the city is looking to pour money into a Destination Promotion campaign through events partnerships over the next three years. Money, if approved by council, has been earmarked for the Durban Picnic Day which is held over the Easter weekend, the Comrades Marathon and Tour Durban Cycle race.

In response to the report, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed concern in the drop in visitors numbers but said that while the report uses the declining numbers to justify further funding, none of the events to be funded are new to the city.

“The city spent thousands branding Durban claiming we were ready to welcome visitors. This report, however, proves what the Democratic Alliance has always said – that unless Durban is clean, safe and has diverse tourism offerings, visitors will not come to the city as a destination of choice,” said Nicole Graham, adding that the DA had routinely motivated for expanding and diversifying tourism options, as opposed to spending millions on partnering with event organisers to boost their profits.



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