All toll booths at KwaZulu-Natal borders are braced for an influx of motorists heading to KZN tourist hotspots to rewind and relax on discounted deals after President Ramaphosa shifted the country to lockdown Level 2 permitting inter-provincial travel.
“It’s time to travel again…unforgettable experiences are here again.” That is the enticing message from Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) to coincide with the relaxation of inter-provincial travel and massively discounted offers by the tourist trade.
Cars pulling trailers crammed with holiday paraphernalia for the ‘Berg, beach and bush, including fishing rods, surf boards, braai equipment and mountain bikes, will again be a common sight on KZN’s main tourist routes.
While the impact of Covid-19 on travellers is that they cannot travel internationally as yet, TKZN’s mantra is “local is lekker”.
Hence, TKZN is leaning towards domestic tourism – identifying less explored places in the province and encouraging interest by getting product owners to offer the same experiences at lower rates – thereby sustaining the distressed sector.
Already several owners of hotels, chalets, game lodges and holiday resorts have posted their amazing specials on TKZN’s website – see www.zulu.org.za.
Phindile Makwakwa, Acting CEO of TKZN, said while the country remains in the grip of an unprecedented health crisis that necessitated a lockdown, things are slowly starting to change on the travel, tourism and hospitality front.
“Hospitality industry players in KZN have come to the party to do their bit for the recovery of tourism. Many are offering decent discounts that will renew a sense of adventure and get our people to travel and explore again.
“It’s been a long, distressful period for holiday resorts, game reserves, airlines, tour operators, transport businesses and accommodation providers. Now is the time to book a local leisure staycation for a well-deserved break, “she said
“The easing of inter-provincial travel will go a long way to put KZN tourism back on track whilst we prepare for the eventual return of our international travellers,” she said.
Under lockdown Level 2, parks, beaches and nature reserves will be open for outdoor activities.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo) has opened most of its reserves to the public for self-drive. It is mandatory for all people entering Ezemvelo gates and other facilities to be subjected to the COVID-19 screening process and hands sanitisation.
As the days are becoming warmer, beaches along the north and south coasts in KwaZulu-Natal will be welcoming visitors in droves.
The lifting of lockdown restrictions on inter-provincial travel will provide a welcome boost for the Tourism Month campaign that will kick-start in September which seeks to drive local travel and encourage people to explore tourism attractions in their own backyard.
Makwakwa said: “We remain steadfast in wanting to revive the tourism sector and we cannot do it alone. It is, therefore, pleasing to note that our tourism partners have come on board with great specials to encourage a lot more people to step out of home and take a sho’t left and enjoy our beautiful province.
“Whilst our marketing initiatives will go a long way to promote KZN as the domestic tourism destination of choice, it is our tourism businesses that are ensuring that travellers have cost-friendly options at their disposal in order for them to travel to KZN and enjoy unforgettable experiences that will make them keep coming back.”
Meanwhile, cyber-community of sightseers, hikers, foodies, nature lovers, bikers, runners, beach bums, travel agents and tour guides are sharing their best experiences at tourism and hospitality spots through TKZN’s MY KZN Facebook page.
The travelling public is urged to frequently visit the TKZN digital platforms for great specials on offer.