Stakeholders in KwaZulu-Natal tourism are celebrating after a bumper festive season that saw the arrival of millions of tourists who spent more that R2billion in the province.
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal has estimated that the region attracted about 2,3million domestic tourists and 100000 international visitors who provided a cash injection of about R2,6billion into the economy.
Hotels and other accommodation services throughout the province experienced high occupancy rates. Most Drakensberg and Durban beachfront establishments were fully booked over the festive season.
As thousands of holidaymakers headed back home yesterday, the region began gearing up for the popular three-day A1 Grand Prix and the thousands of motor racing enthusiasts that it attracts.
Ndabo Khoza, acting head of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, said: "Research during [last year's] event showed that the total spent on the event amounted to R183million, of which spectators contributed R46,6 million."
Khoza said the three-day Hansa Powerade Dusi Canoe Marathon later this month would bring paddlers and their families from all corners of the country to share the excitement and challenge of the event.
Michael Sutcliffe, eThekwini's municipal manager, said Durban had had a highly successful holiday season.
"Our expectations have been fulfilled. All hotels in the city were filled to capacity. Unlike last year, our beaches attracted capacity crowds throughout the holiday."