KwaZulu-Natal’s drive to grow tourism and attract much needed direct foreign investment is expected to move up a gear when the province formally welcomes the arrival of the inaugural British Airways direct flight from London into the King Shaka International Airport next week.
The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala, accompanied by the Mayor of eThekwini Councillor Zandile Gumede will be part of the momentous occasion by officially welcoming the aircraft upon its touchdown at the King Shaka International Airport.
Commenting ahead of the route launch, Mr Zikalala said KwaZulu-Natal government expected major economic and tourism spin-offs.
“This direct route comes at a time when we are working hard to grow the tourism impact on the province’s GDP to between R65 billion and R98 billion over the next two years. We believe this would guarantee the realization of our target of creating 183 000 direct jobs over the same period.”
The province of KwaZulu-Natal has set itself the ambitious target of attracting no less than 3.4 million international visitors by 2030, added the MEC.
“We are optimistic about this prospect especially when considering that Britain has become our intimate market. This direct flight willl therefore further cement existing relations and, more importantly, make travel more effortless for both leisure and business travellers alike.”
MEC Zikalala said the province also had plans to increase its share of domestic tourism.
“On the domestic front, we intend increasing our market share to 16.3 million by 2020 and 24.1 million by 2030.”
Mr Zikalala added that the direct route would assist the province to achieve its goal of attracting investments. “We have just packaged a list of investment opportunities worth more than R270 billion. We have no doubt that we will soon see even more United Kingdom based investors coming to view these opportunities and invest.”