The Isimangaliso Wetlands Park Authority says it’s been booked to capacity at its various facilities this Easter weekend. This as holidaymakers flocked to various parts of KwaZulu-Natal since Thursday.
Tourism authorities say the industry is slowly picking up after the devastating impact of COVID-19 on business.
Vacationers flocked to Durban for the first major holidays since the beaches have been reopened. During the December holidays KwaZulu-Natal seashores were closed to the public when COVID-19 regulations were tightened due to the second wave of the pandemic.
Locals Melanie Venter and Enzo Copola say they are enjoying the outdoors after being cooped up indoors.
“I’m glad to see that everybody is wearing masks, so it is amazing to be at the beach. The vibe is absolutely amazing; everybody is mingling, it’s beautiful. COVID has put a halt in our lives, but we’ll get there,” says Venter.
“To be outdoors and to be in the open air again, it’s a wonderful day and we are very grateful that we can do that because we’re not used to it, you know, we’re used to being cooped up and closed up indoors and now it’s a wonderful thing to be outdoors with other people to fresh air and ocean,” adds Copola.
Tourism slowly picking up in KwaZulu-Natal:
Visitors Sonto Masuku and Thoko Makhanya from Mpumalanga say they managed to put a little money aside to come and de-stress by the beach.
“We are feeling so happy because we managed to come far away from Mpumalanga we are here now to celebrate with my kids. I’m so happy. Yes we are affected but we managed with the little we have but we managed to come here and enjoy. Money is something we don’t have but the little we had we thought let’s use it and come down and bring our kids so that we can all enjoy, destress and thank the lord that we are alive,” the pair says.
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Isimangaliso CEO, Sibusiso Bukhosini, says they improved their infrastructure during lockdown.
“Isimangaliso has gone a long way in terms of creating and amenable environment for its visitors to come and visit Isimangaliso and enjoy it. At the same time, we have seen great numbers of visitors coming to Isimangaliso in the likes of your Eastern shores, your Western shores that represent your Cape Vidal, as well as your Sodwana as well. On the other side of the northern parts of the park, we have Kosi Bay. So we’ve got lots of visitors that have come in. In fact, to be quite honest, we have reached our capacity as we speak,” adds Bukhosini.
Authorities are hopeful that tourism figures will further improve. –Reporting by Nonhlakanipho Magwaza