KZN government extends helping hand to Durban's Hilton Hotel amid job loss concerns

An empty Durban beachfront due to Covid-19 restrictions, paints a picture of the pandemic's impact.
An empty Durban beachfront due to Covid-19 restrictions, paints a picture of the pandemic's impact.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The KwaZulu-Natal government has committed to working with Durban's Hilton Hotel in an attempt to ensure it reopens its doors soon.

It emerged on Saturday that the city's iconic landmark, situated next to the International Convention Centre (ICC), will shut its doors, temporarily.

The hotel’s online bookings are suspended from Monday January 11. It is unclear when the hotel intends to reopen.

MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs Ravi Pillay on Sunday said, together with other spheres of government, including the eThekwini Municipality, “we will continue working with the Hilton to ensure that we find solutions and to ensure they reopen their doors soon”.

“As the provincial government, we value the Hilton Hotel as a strategic investment in our province.

“We hope that the rollout of the vaccine this year will speed up the economic recovery and reopening of many businesses such as the Hilton Durban establishment.

“We are working with all sectors to ensure that we revive the economy so that we can save jobs,” Pillay said.

Pillay said the business decision by the Hilton Durban Hotel to close its doors was “regrettable”.

He said the department understood the pressures facing the establishment and was involved in interventions to try to avert the closure. The department said it is concerned that the closure will have a negative impact on jobs.

“We respect the business decision that has been taken to close the establishment temporarily and we understand the rationale behind it. While this is not a preferred situation, it must be noted that the closure of the Hilton Durban Hotel happens in the context of a depressed global economy.

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“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the global hotel group has taken a decision to close down over 1,000 Hilton hotels worldwide, including one in Cape Town which closed down last year,” said Pillay.

He added that the positioning and its symbiotic relationship with the ICC has, for many years, reinforced Durban’s position as the number one host of premier international events. The iconic hotel has also played a huge role in attracting tourists to eThekwini and to the province.

The Hilton Hotel is yet to comment. TimesLIVE understands that a decision will be made during the closure on whether the shutdown will be permanent.


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