KZN prepares to welcome new year

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It’s all systems go at various party venues in KwaZulu-Natal as the province gears up for the countdown to 2019.

Durban remains a favourite destination to usher in the New Year, with several music concerts expected to draw large crowds as organisers promise star-studded line-ups, including some of the country’s top DJs.

Durban’s golden shoreline is expected to serve as the proverbial red carpet for thousands of visitors as they bring in the New Year.

With hotel accommodation almost at capacity, the CEO of KwaZulu-Natal Tourism department, Phindile Makwakwa, says the city is likely to rake in over a billion rand this festive season.

“The numbers are looking very good this festive season. We are projecting a total expenditure from the festive season of between R1.5 to 1.8 billion and we have been told that we are sitting at over 90% hotel occupancy wide across the province and that amounts to just over a million tourists with domestic and international so we are expecting a bin in tourism this festive season.”

Various township entertainment spots are also bracing for an influx of visitors.

“I must say that the people who are leading the pack is eThekwini, in terms of the various experiences we can have, in terms of township tourism. We’re working with other municipalities mushrooming from your Richards Bay area to the south coast area. Just last week we went to KwaDukuza to a really nice place called 10/11, which is a beautiful experience that you can do firstly is the Albert Luthuli Museum and then go for lunch and have a shisanyama experience. Rural tourism is also booming but we’d like to do more in terms of having more products that can meet the demand for tourism,” says Makwakwa.

eThekwini Tourism’s Phillip Sithole says the Last Dance Music Festival at Richards Bay is one of the main New Year’s Eve celebrations, where the Song of the Year is likely to be announced.

“We are more than prepared, we would like to assure everyone who is coming to the beachfront tomorrow that we are more than prepared. Not only for the beachfront but the entire city that includes other tourism destination areas that are in the townships. We are more than ready, in terms of events. We have a number of them that are supported by the city, others are privately run by private event organiser. We have the all-white party that will be taking place at the Virginia Airport tomorrow night until the morning of the 1st of January 2019. At the Durban beachfront, we have the Durban Summer Love Music Festival, so we are inviting everyone to come,” says Sithole.

The Durban Festive Season Management Committee says party-goers must not lose sight of their priorities.

According to the committee, they have taken in over 80 lost children a day at the Durban Beach front since the start of the holidays and about 70 of them were reunited with their parents.

Operations manager, Malcom Canham says parents need to be more vigilant.

“Thus far,we’ve had quite a few children separated and we’ve taken them into our overnight school where we house them – but we have nobody remaining so the system works very well to reunite parents with their children. What we have along the beach front are separated children’s tent, so if a child is separated from their older siblings or their parents they are taken to the separated children’s tent. It’s been very good… while we’ve had a high number going through the tents sometimes 87 in a day. That number is reduced so numbers taken to the school might be down to seven in one day so it varies per day,” says Canham.


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