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Durban hotels fully booked a week before ANC manifesto launch

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An ANC supporter holds a flag of the ANC while the President Jacob Zuma addresses ANC Gauteng Cadre Assembly in Pretoria.

Picture: Phill Magakoe

DURBAN –
The KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development, tourism and environmental affairs expects the ANC manifesto launch rally to have economic spin-offs to the Durban’s economy as hotels and city have been fully booked a week earlier before the rally was scheduled to take place.

KwaZulu-Natal’s minister of economic development, tourism and environmental affairs Sihle Zikalala said a number of hotels, lodges and as well as bed and breakfast establishments were fully booked as about 100 000 people are expected to descend on the coastal City of Durban.

“We will host thousands of people from different parts of the country. A sizeable number of the rally organisers, including the party President, Cyril Ramaphosa have been in the province for more than a week now. We have received reports that our tourism industry has benefited handsomely as the rally organisers have in the past week been using accommodation establishments when they mobilised communities in different parts of the province to be part of the rally,” Zikalala said.

The ANC held its manifesto rally for the forthcoming 2019 general elections held at Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday (Saturday), which included celebrating its 107 birthday.

Durban has recently seen a lot of activity around the city during the festive season as more than one million visitors toured Durban during the festive season.

“The province generated around R2 billion in tourism related revenue and the hosting of the governing party’s rally in KwaZulu-Natal will definitely benefit the economy of our province as visitors from all parts of South Africa will spend a lot of money in shops and various eateries during the event,” Zikalala added.

Durban 09-01-19: Left to right : Sihle Zikalala KZN PEC chairperson chairperson with Cyril Ramaphosa president of the ANC and Nocawe Mafu convener of deployees in KwaZulu-Natal ,during the meeting with the professionals at the Durban City hall Picture: Bongani Mbatha/ African News Agency(ANA)

In 2017 during the festive season, more than 800 000 tourists visited Durban during the festive season, while its beaches had 3.9 million visitors who spent around R2.3bn and contributed R3.8bn to the gross domestic product( GDP), according to the eThekwini Municipality.

Zikalala said KwaZulu-Natal had recently embarked on an aggressive campaign to increase the number of international visitors into the region.

“The campaign is already bearing fruit as the latest statistics reveal that some 2 000 international tourists arrived at King Shaka International Airport in the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

He added that they were are also focusing on increasing the number of domestic tourists. “Our intention is to grow the tourism impact on the province’s GDP to between R65bn and R98bn in the next two years. This we believe will guarantee the realisation of our target of creating 183 000 direct jobs over the same period. We want to attract no less than 3.4 million international visitors by 2030,” Zikalala said.

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