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In a show of support to the hospitality industry and to highlight Durban’s state of readiness for Alert Level 2, today 18 August, accompanied by tourism officials, eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda conducted a walkabout in the Umhlanga Precinct to assess the level of readiness for the reopening of the tourism sector under the new COVID19 safety regulations.

The Alert level 2 lockdown announcement has been well received by the Durban tourism sector which has been hardest hit by the lockdown restrictions under the disaster management act occasioned by the covid19 pandemic.

The effects of the lockdown restrictions resulted in major events and conventions cancelled; as well as some major tourist attractions being inaccessible to both visitors and locals- directly impacting formal as well as informal jobs in the City’s tourism industry and linked industries such as entertainment.

Mayor Kaunda welcomes the announcement by the President and that it could not have come at a more critical time for our tourism industry which has been adversely affected by the covid19 pandemic.

“The announcement of the easing of the lockdown restrictions comes at a time when the City’s tourism authorities are working relentlessly to ensure that we respond effectively to Covid-19 and as far as possible put in place strategies that not only shield the tourism sector against the pandemic but also ensure that our City constructs and sustains a safe and healthy tourist destination status more aggressively than we have done before. Our stakeholders, business and product owners have afforded the City their full support and co-operation in the fight against the pandemic by ensuring that establishments, products and services are Covid-19 compliant and have put their weight behind the City’s economic recovery plan.” said Kaunda.

Part of the City’s tourism response to Covid-19 was the launching of the Virtual Durban July experience which forms part of the Rediscover Durban campaign motivated by the City’s vision of promoting domestic tourism in the wake of Covid-19, prompting residents to rediscover Durban’s hidden gems. The virtual experience enjoyed much success and realised its goal of keeping Durban top of mind during the pandemic. During the month of July, when the City traditionally hosts its signature Vodacom Durban July horse racing and lifestyle event, the VDJ was the talk of the town as it rolled out the virtual red carpet for the nation. A first of its kind for the South African tourism industry.

Kaunda further stated that entertainment hubs such as Florida Road, Chartwell Drive in Umhlanga Village and township hotspot establishments are ready to host citizens and visitors in accordance to Covid-19 safety protocols. “We look forward to seeing the public enjoy spaces such as the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the beachfront, uShaka Marine World which is set to re-open on 01 September and the Oyster Box Hotel which recently took the 3rd place in Trip Advisor’s best hotels in Africa list,” he stated.

The Municipality has also identified R10m in savings from events and programmes cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic to establish the relief fund in line with the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA). The proposed a Socio- Economic Relief Fund will form part of the City’s Economic Recovery Plan to provide support to struggling businesses, stem job losses and fund projects aimed at assisting businesses to access opportunities.

Now is the time to rediscover Durban!! We call on all South Africans to come and explore the City, for more information on Durban visit www.visitdurban.travel or follow us on Facebook/Durban Tourism or Twitter and Instagram @dbntourism

Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communication Mandla Nsele.

For more information contact eThekwini Municipality’s Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela on 060 966 4220 or Mayoral Spokesman Mluleki Mntungwa on 060 974 1140.

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