KZN takes bigger slice of tourism cake

KWAZULU-NATAL continues to attract the lion's share of domestic tourists.

That's according to the KZN minister of economic development and tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu.

He was speaking at the tourism service excellence awards in Zimbali Lodge on Friday.

KwaZulu-Natal enjoys a 33percent slice of the domestic tourism market. Last year it attracted 1,3million inbound tourists.

He told guests that this included tourism sector stakeholders.

But Mabuyakhulu, pictured, said this was not enough.

"Stemming from the fact that tourism worldwide employs approximately 243million people, a sizeable proportion of whom are semi-skilled, it is imperative for any country to ensure that this sector remains competitive.

"These awards, therefore, are aimed at ensuring that this sector continues to contribute to the growth of our economy and ensures that our province, country, region and continent become international tourist destinations of choice."

While KwaZulu-Natal might be pulling in tourists, international tourist arrivals worldwide for 2009 are estimated to have dropped from 643million to 600million compared with the year before.

Mabuyakhulu said the province was pinning its hopes on the state-of-the-art King Shaka International Airport to further place KwaZulu-Natal on the tourism map.