Holidaymakers planning to converge on Durban and the province are in for an action-packed mid-year break that is estimated to bring in at least R800 million to the region.
One highlight of the season will be the Vodacom Durban July (July 2), which, if last year is anything to go by, is worth R440m to the region alone.
Last year, more partygoers from Gauteng attended the society event of the year than local people.
More visitors are expected to visit the province this winter holiday season compared with last year.
Tourism KZN expects about 65 000 international tourists to travel through King Shaka International Airport, a 4% increase from last year.
Domestic travellers to the province are expected to number about 350 000, while hotel occupancies will be about 67% throughout the province, which is above the national average,
The packed holiday programme has already begun with the South Coast’s annual two-month long Sardine Festival (from June 4-July 31), in celebration of the sardine run.
In Ballito, during the top-level surfing Ballito Pro (June 22-July 3), presented by Billabong, at Willard Beach, spectacular motorcycle stunts are on the agenda.
The popular East Coast Radio House and Garden Show, from July 1-10, is also expected to draw big crowds.
This year, the show at the Durban Exhibition Centre will include the inaugural KZN Travel and Adventure Show from July 8-10.
A ticket to the ECR House and Garden Show gives free entry to the KZN Travel and Adventure Show, and vice-versa.
While the annual May Indaba tourism show in Durban is for trade delegates, the KZN Travel and Adventure Show will enable the public to personally interact with more than 80 tourism destinations, resorts, operators and airlines for the first time.
Significant discounts and show specials for travel and adventure activities will be on offer.
“While Durban remains one of the region’s most popular destinations, this show will uncover some of our hidden gems,” said Ndabo Khoza, chief executive of Tourism KZN, the hosts.
Well-known actor Thato Molamu, who appeared in the soapie Generations, has just joined East Coast Radio as a DJ on Sundays and will be visiting the KZN Travel and Adventure Show as the quickest way to getting to know the province.
Other holiday highlights include: The Durban International Film Festival (June 16-26), the Durban International Boat and Lifestyle Show (June 24-26), the Ugu Jazz Festival (June 25), the Dundee July (July 13), the Keep the Promise Benefit Concert (July 16) and the Elan Property Group Gold Cup (July 30).
Meanwhile, 300 delegates from 23 countries are also expected in Durban from June 27-30 for Africa’s first World Leisure Congress, hosted by the Leisure and Recreation Association of South Africa.
International experts will present their latest research at the congress on the trends in the leisure, recreation and tourism sectors.
Durban’s green corridor will be the focus of some of the panel discussions, with the Inanda Dam precinct highlighted as a case study.
Other sessions will include a focus on Lifesaving South Africa and its role in leisure and tourism, while another speaker will talk about developing Durban as a culinary destination.