Tuesday, 9 May 2017

SOUTH AFRICA: Half-a-million Visitors In Durban Over Easter Weekend

In the sun and at the sea was the place to be according to around 500‚000 domestic holidaymakers made their way to KwaZulu-Natal over the Easter season.

Together with the 65‚000 international tourists‚ the two-week holiday period was expected to generate in the region of R700-million‚ said CEO of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal‚ Ndabo Khoza.

International travellers are were expected from the United Kingdom‚ Germany‚ United States of America‚ France‚ Netherlands and India.

This year‚ we are expecting more international tourists with a number of airlines that now fly directly to King Shaka International Airport‚ said Khoza. We are projecting an increase of 18.7% on our international arrivals.

Last month Air Seychelles became the 11th international carrier to offer direct fights to Durban following in the flight path of Turkish‚ Qatar and Ethiopian airlines.

In light of the current bus strike‚ Khoza said that they are unable to determine the impact of the strike on tourism at this time.

This will depend on how long the strike will be. Some people may opt to use a different mode of transport. We always urge people to plan their holidays in advance and if the strike persists‚ we will definitely urge them to take a scenic drive to KZN and enjoy the true splendour of the destination.

According to 2015 research undertaken by Tourism KZN‚ the most popular destination is Durban that can claim 39% of domestic visitors followed by Zululand at 19%.

In order to promote KZN as a safe destination‚ Tourism KZN has kicked off a multi-stakeholder campaign that includes KZN Liquor Authority‚ Department of Health‚ Sanral‚ South African Police Services‚ Road Accident Fund and the Road Traffic Inspectorate.

The campaign includes a “Driver Wellness” programme‚ and information on safety issues at all TKZN visitor info centres to help raise visitor awareness.

We have ensured that hotels have Travellers Tips booklets which carry a host of information on do’s and don’t’s‚ said Khoza. Also available on the KZN Tourism website is a QR code that can be downloaded onto smart phones.

“A good working relationship with SAPS and Durban metro police makes it possible to respond in cases of incidents involving visitors to the province‚ and provide necessary assistance.”

What was on in KZN over the Easter holiday season:

- Easter Indian Shopping Festival‚ Moses Mabhida Stadium‚ 7 – 27 April

- Splashy Fan Music Festival‚ Underberg‚ 13 – 16 April

- Ubunye Easter Weekend Bang at Muzuvukile Sports Ground‚ 14 April

- The Gwara Nation‚ KwaNdengezi Sports Field‚ 15 April

- Durban Picnic Day‚ Moses Mabhida Stadium‚ 16 April

- Cothoza‚ Nongoma Gardens‚ 16 April

- 6th Annual Uvukile Gospel Festival‚ Ugu Sports ground‚ 16 April

- Indidane Maskandi Festival Pomoroy Stadium‚ 16 April

- Handles Messiah‚ Opera Theatre‚ The Playhouse‚ 16 April

- Greatest Zululand Music Festival‚ The George Hotel‚ Eshowe‚ 20 April

- South Coast Bike Festival‚ Margate‚ 27 April

- UMhlathuze Music Festival‚ Imbizo Hall Empangeni‚ 28 – 30 April

- Durban Ski-boat Club Festival‚ Durban Ski-boat club‚ 28 – 30 April

- Amabhubesi Rally 2017‚ Hazelmere Dam Verulam‚ 28 April

Meanwhile, On Wednesday morning‚ an opportunistic Durban thief rode off with a prized bike which had been parked outside a popular coffee shop when it was pilfered. Because it was modified to road racing specifications‚ the thief was able to make a hasty getaway.

Police detectives are now on the lookout for the suspicious “vehicle” – and owner Paul Kraus has offered a cash reward for information leading to its return.

Kraus said that he had stopped at the coffee shop after a training ride‚ leaving his black Cannondale Evo 6 just out of his field of view.

I parked my bike outside and got caught up in conversation with a friend. I couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes and when I went outside it was gone‚ he said.

My friend helped me drive around the neighbourhood but we had no luck‚ Kraus added.

Kraus‚ a top level amateur cyclist‚ said that the bike had been customised for him.

This is not something I want to let go of. That’s why I offered the reward‚ he said.

Cyclesphere owner Greg Alberts said that while the theft of Kraus’ bicycle had likely been the work of an opportunist‚ robbers knew there was money to be made from stealing expensive custom-made cycles.

I am pretty involved in cycling in Durban and I have worked with the police about bicycle theft. The bike that was stolen this morning was completely unique…there is not another one like it‚ and when they are stolen they never reappear‚ he said.

We cycle shops, all network and keep in contact and if someone comes in with a suspect looking bike we let each other know. This leads me to think that maybe it is a bigger syndicate that is sending them out of the country‚ Alberts said. One or two appear in pawn shops but the majority of them disappear.

He said that two weeks ago robbers had targeted a cycling shop in Johannesburg two weeks ago‚ stealing R2.5 million worth of bicycles.

Last week a cyclist was robbed of his bike worth R90‚000 in Durban North.

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