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Tourism

The Tourism industry is a key contributor to the KwaZulu-Natal economy. The province's tourism attractions, perhaps less well known internationally, surpass the national norm in many respects and are structured around four components, the coastal holiday areas with their magnificent beaches, sunshine, boating, surfing and fishing; the wildlife game parks in the north; the Drakensberg Mountains and the historical battlefields. Two World heritage sites have been declared recently: the Greater Lucia Wetlands Park, and Ukhahlamba/Drakensberg Mountain Reserve. Both offer interesting opportunities for investors and especially for small businesses. The attractiveness lies in the unique combination of bio-diversity, impressive scenery, all-year climate and its rich mosaic of exciting cultures and history. Its competitive advantage is that it has a monarchy that can be used to support tourism development. Zulu cultural village activity and the African township experience have emerged strongly as new areas of interest that needs to be marketed.

In KwaZulu-Natal, tourism contribution to GDRP is standing about R30 billion - about 10% of the provincial economy. The Province currently attracts about 1.3 million foreign visitors and 13.9 million domestic tourism trips on an annual basis. Overseas arrivals to South Africa have been increasing steadily and KwaZulu- Natal is visited by approximately a third of all South Africa's international air arrival visitors. Passenger arrivals at Durban International Airport between December 15 and January 7, 2006 were 11 percent more than 2004 and 2005, and passenger vehicles passing through the Mariannhill Toll Plaza increased by two percent during the same period.

Surveys indicated that foreign visitors spend on average 13 nights in South Africa. Most foreign tourists come from the United Kingdom, then Germany, Africa, North America, Netherlands and France. In terms of domestic tourism, recent surveys indicated that KwaZulu-Natal remains the most popular destination of all provinces, capturing in excess of 35% of all domestic tourism trips in the country.

An important contributor to tourism is the Durban International Convention Centre, a world-class state-of-the-art convention centre, which has hosted a number of major international conferences such as the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, the African Renaissance conference and the World Economic Forum.

The rapid growth in tourism presents a variety of investment opportunities and the regional tourism authority, KwaZulu-Natal has exciting investment opportunities, particularly in tourism. KwaZulu-Natal has some of the most breathtaking wilderness and coastal areas in the country, which have remained largely under-exploited. The government is promoting public private partnerships for projects that stimulate growth and job creation, leveraging private sector investment and the knock-on benefits, while ensuring that ecological habitats are conserved in perpetuity, and that broader community interests are taken into consideration without draining public sector resources.

SMMEs have been identified as a catalyst for economic growth and tourism is a particularly versatile sector for such enterprises. SMME owners and operators can offer products that are flexible and personal, can offer tailor made products to tourists and can occupy niches that connect tourists directly to some of South Africa's world class experiences and best kept secrets. SMMEs are also better positioned to respond to the global trend of ''New Tourism'', where tourists seek interaction with real locals, want to understand ordinary, everyday activities in other countries and where foreign tourists care about the impact of their visit.

Investment projects

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal has a number of new investment projects underway. These include the St Lucia region thanks to the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative. The governments of Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland have launched tourism investment opportunities on a scale and grandeur unparalleled in Africa - in an area of immense tourism potential underpinned by a wealth of natural and cultural resources, including a pristine coastline, classic African game parks, the southernmost coral reefs in Africa and rich indigenous cultural traditions. At the heart of the region nestles the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, listed as a World Heritage Site. Other opportunities include five casino developments, the eMakhosini Valley cultural conservancy, the Port Shepstone marina, Lilani and Shushu hot springs, the Mkhambathini Game Reserve and a tourism centre in Mnweni valley in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg world heritage site.

Non specific opportunities in the  Province include: Hunting and game farms, Tour guide, Tour operating businesses services, Bed & Breakfast establishments or guesthouses, Hotels, Cultural villages, Tourism offices, Restaurants, eating houses or taverns, Travel agencies and Conference venues

Key incentive programmes

The government encourages foreign investment, actively identifying international business possibilities and incentives make this industry particularly attractive to investors: Funding includes:

  • The International Tourism Marketing Aid Scheme
  • Small and Medium Enterprise Development Programme (SMEDP) 
  • Development Bank of Southern Africa 
  • Tourism Enterprise Programme 
  • Industrial Development Corporation's Tourism Scheme 
  • Department of Trade and Industry's Khula Enterprise Finance 
  • Foreign Investment Grant (FIG) 
  • Ithala Development Finance Corporation

Film

The film industry in KwaZulu-Natal is experiencing steady growth.  The Durban Film Office, the film promotion arm of the eThekwini Municipality, says local production activity has soared by 41% over the past three years. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), The KwaZulu- Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT) and The Durban Chamber of Commerce have all identified the film and media industries as strategic growth industries and investing heavily in attracting film production to KwaZulu- Natal. Durban also boasts the largest and longest running film festival in South Africa.

The Zulu Coast Film Office, incorporating Ilembe North Coast, officially promotes and acts as industry facilitator for the feature film, television, video and stills photography production trade. It is funded by and operates under the auspices of the uThungulu District Municipality based in the Zululand port city of Richards Bay. 

www.kwazulunatalfilm.co.za
www.durbanfilmoffice.com
www.film-zulucoast.co.za