ETHEKWINI MAYOR KICKS OFF FESTIVE SEASON PROGRAMME
The City of Durban expects to welcome 540 000 visitors over the festive season from 1December 2020 to 31 January 2021, representing a R 3 billion injection into the city’s gross domestic product. However, the anticipated visitor figure is 25 percent lower than 2019’s figures due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda revealed this at an activation rolling-out festive season programme held on the Day of Reconciliation, 16 December, at popular township destination, Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi.
The celebration brought the spirit of Christmas to the township with performances of well-loved carols by the full KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Thandeka Ndlovu and a host of others.
Mayor Kaunda will also this week host a festive luncheon for some of the city’s underprivileged children, treating them to exciting activities at uShaka Marine World. He will then visit tourism precincts such as Umhlanga, Florida Road, Umlazi and Chesterville to engage with product owners and patrons ahead of the peak of the festive season.
Getting Durbanites and visitors out to hidden gems, outdoor venues and a variety of entertainment nodes this holiday is important for minimising the gathering of people in crowded spaces. Durban Tourism has been encouraging safe and responsible holiday behaviour and adherence to the basic CoVID-19 preventative measures.
“During December we want to ensure that visitors to our City are able to take in the full, safe and authentic Durban holiday experience, that includes as many of our entertainment and leisure nodes as possible. We want to enhance the overall visitor experience. And that is among the reasons that we are present in Umlazi today – it is about bringing tourism to the people and spreading the City’s festive season message as widely as possible at this time,” said Mayor Kaunda.
On Monday, 14th December, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced new Covid-19 safety restrictions for the festive season. Among these, KwaZulu-Natal beaches and public parks will be closed on what are traditionally the busiest days of the season – today-16, 25, 26 and 31 December 2020 as well as 1, 2 and 3 of January 2021. Among these restricted spots are 12 Durban beaches recently awarded Blue Flag status for the 2020/2021 season.
Kaunda said, “eThekwini Municipality fully supports these measures, even though we understand and appreciate that this will be a disappointment to those who enjoy visiting our City at this time. We will comply with any directive to balance the needs of the tourism sector with the safety of visitors and Durban residents.”
He also unpacked progress on implementation of the City’s Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan where Re-starting the Tourism Sector is represented as pillar three.
He further stated that eThekwini Municipality is coordinating with the Departments of Health, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, and Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, to ensure the safety of visitors and residents over the holiday. Durban Tourism will be rolling out Tourism Safe Travel Awareness Educational Activations in various townships from 20 December onwards.
The Mayor appealed to young people and others to limit or avoid social gatherings and parties which are the largest source of outbreaks. He urged the community to drink responsibly, observe social distancing, not to gather in large groups and to keep celebrations as small as possible.
“Avoid crowded venues and those that are not adequately ventilated. Better yet, get outside and enjoy our beautiful Durban weather. Sanitise your hands and wear your masks properly over the nose and mouth, not the chin,” he said.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit. For media enquiries contact the Municipality’s Spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela on 060 966 4220.