KZN braces for revellers

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Holidaymakers are flocking to the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal in search of sunshine after the recent cold spell.

The province expects at least two million domestic tourists and an estimated 150000 international visitors over the July holidays.

The impact of tourism on the province's economy is just over R2 billion, according to Phindile Makwakwa of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal.

"The July holiday period is fast becoming as important as the Easter holiday period for the Zulu kingdom. In July last year hotel occupancy in the province was as high as 80 percent and in Durban 85 percent, making it by far one of the best holiday seasons," she said.

All the beaches along the north and south coasts that were damaged during the pre-Easter storms are open again. Traffic authorities have reported increases in traffic volumes into the region.

Several events are taking place in the province as part of a bumper entertainment extravaganza.

These include a fashion, beachfront and sardine festivals. In addition the Vodacom Durban July, Africa's premiere horseracing event, takes place this Saturday. The event, which gets hearts pumping in tune with pounding horse hooves, attracts about 55000 spectators, 10 percent of whom are from Johannesburg.

The favoured destinations are Durban Central, South Coast, Pietermaritzburg and Midlands, North Coast and the Drakensberg.