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Cool weekend activities in Durban. Image: Pinterest

Home » Durban: Tourism on the decline – the SCARY numbers

Durban: Tourism on the decline – the SCARY numbers

Durban’s tourism sector is at risk with fewer tourists visiting the city. It’s no longer the tourist beacon it once used to be.

08-01-24 13:05
Durban events
Cool weekend activities in Durban. Image: Pinterest

Durban’s tourism sector is at risk with fewer tourists visiting the city. The coastal city is no longer the tourist beacon it once used to be.   

For decades, Durban was considered a holiday hotspot by local tourists.  

The city offered fun activities, a range of good hotels, pleasant beaches and well-functioning infrastructure. 

The inland provinces were major tourism source markets for Durban, once called “The city where the fun never sets”.

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According to the Daily Maverick, in 2015, 7.4 million people visited Durban, with a total direct spend of R19.2 billion reported.

In 2024, the direct spend is only forecast to be R1.6 billion with an estimated 800 000 visitors.

Should that materialise, it would represent a marginal improvement from 2023’s numbers of R1.5 billion with just under 703 000 visitors.

DURBAN BEACHES

The recent beach closures, resulting from high e.coli levels in the sea have impacted the Durban’s tourist economy.

Though Durban’s beaches have now been reopened, visitor numbers were still down.

Jace Govender, from Lifesaving South Africa told eNCA that fewer people had visited Durban’s beaches over the past couple of days, compared to the same period in previous years.

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However, Govender said that he expected visitor numbers to increase around New Year as Durban’s beaches traditionally receive large numbers of visitors on 1 January because the day is a public holiday.

He told eNCA that there were plans and security measures in place for New Year, which was traditionally when there is a spike in visitor numbers to the city’s beaches.

Durban’s tourism decline. Image: Unsplash

TOURISM DECLINE

Sadly, Durban has been losing its tourist market share for several years. This is because the city has become less attractive to South Africans.

Falling standards and increased infrastructural malfunctions have made the coastal city less appealing to holidaymakers.

A number of the city’s hotels have closed their doors and some of its prime tourist attractions are no longer functional.

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CHOOSING ALTERNATIVES

Many holidaymakers who previously spent their time and money in Durban are now opting for alternate locations on the north or south coasts.

Adding to the decline, many have ditched Durban entirely, choosing to spend their holidays in Cape Town.

Cape Town International Airport has also reportedly seen a spike in passenger numbers this festive season.

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