KZN abound with multibillion rand opportunities for tourism investment, says TKZN

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal acting CEO, Sibusiso Gumbi, gives a thumbs up for tourism investment. Picture: Supplied

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal acting CEO, Sibusiso Gumbi, gives a thumbs up for tourism investment. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 12, 2024


TKZN is currently at World Travel Market (WTM) Africa 2024 showcasing the province of KwaZulu-Natal as a tourism investment destination.

WTM is an annual event taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, from April 10 to 12, and sees over 6 000 travel industry professionals exhibit their businesses for both the inbound and outbound African travel and tourism markets.

The African leg of this international event is attended by leading travel trade professionals from several international markets and TKZN will promote KZN’s multibillion-rand range of development opportunities to investors, funding agencies and financial institutions during the WTM Tourism Investment Forum.

Attending the event, acting CEO of Tourism KZN Sibusiso Gumbi highlighted the importance of WTM Africa and said that to effectively market and promote KZN internationally, TKZN must influence all levels of the travel value chain.

“Whether we are at international travel exhibitions or hosting major travel companies and agents in KZN, we are building meaningful relationships to ensure that the province is featured in travel packages and that agents have the knowledge to sell KZN to their clients,” said Gumbi.

Gumbi said that such events have had a positive effect on the number of international visitors to KZN as the province, like other parts of the country, has enjoyed a substantial increase in its overseas visitors over the past three years.

The province recorded a 65% increase in international visitors, with a 14% increase over the past year to reach 650 000, from 2020 to 2023.

“Key international markets, including the UK, USA, eSwatini, the Netherlands and Germany, have fuelled this growth. This performance is the fruit of the province’s international marketing efforts.

“However, we still have 19% growth to reach our 2019 international numbers. Thus, the need for us to remain aggressive in lobbying international tour operators in these various platforms,” said Gumbi.

He added that TKZN’s international marketing strategy has laid a strong foundation for international tourism to flourish, and they are now looking for growth.

However, in order to be competitive, they need to keep pace with evolving trends and know exactly what travellers’ expectations are as they continue to position KZN as a must-visit province.

“By attending international trade shows such as WTM London, Vakantiebeurs in the Netherlands and roadshows in India, the entity has gained valuable insights from leading tour operators.

“This information feeds into its international marketing recovery plan,” said the acting CEO.

TKZN is also exhibiting alongside partner Durban Direct, which champions direct air access to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Trade and Investment KZN (TIKZN) as well as other proud KZN tourism service providers, including mFulaWozi, Isibindi Lodges, Coastlands Resorts, Gooderson Leisure Group (hotels and resorts), CNT Travel and Loxtion Tours.

“It is important for us to ensure that we provide market access opportunities for smaller and emerging tourism entrepreneurs. Events like WTM Africa serve as a platform where our SMMEs can engage with international buyers to secure deals that help them grow their businesses,” added Gumbi.