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Covid-19 surge means no 'Vaalie' holiday rush from Gauteng to KZN

04 July 2021 - 00:00 By suthentira govender
Sun International has shut its restaurants, casinos and resorts in KZN, including the Wild Coast Sun and Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom, amid new lockdown regulations.
Sun International has shut its restaurants, casinos and resorts in KZN, including the Wild Coast Sun and Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom, amid new lockdown regulations.
Image: SUPPLIED

The seasonal "Vaalie rush" from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal has been cancelled.

Vacant hotel rooms, eerily quiet restaurants and empty beaches have replaced hopes of a bumper winter school holiday thanks to the ban on leisure travel to and from Gauteng.

The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa in KwaZulu-Natal said the ban is a "devastating" blow to the hotel industry.

Fedhasa east coast chair Brett Tungay, who owns a resort in the Drakensberg, said: "If this is going to be longer than two weeks I think it's going to be lethal for our industry.

With your standard sit-down restaurant, about 50% of your revenue is from alcohol sales, which is all gone.

"In the rural areas of South Africa, the hospitality industry is one of the biggest providers of employment. The government should be nurturing rural tourism. Measures like these are certainly not helping."

Durban's flagship entertainment spot, Suncoast, is closed until July 11 and Sun International has shut its restaurants, casinos and resorts, including the Wild Coast Sun and Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom.

COO Graham Wood said: "We are mindful that government is concerned about the risk of transmission … but these restrictions will have a further negative impact on our tourism industry, the thousands of people employed."

Phindile Makwakwa, acting CEO of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, said: "Gauteng is our biggest key source market outside of KwaZulu-Natal.

The leisure travel ban will substantially reduce arrivals ... but what we have all learnt about this virus is that it moves with people and we understand that we can't take the risk to have it gain momentum in KwaZulu-Natal after we have seen how it has ravaged Gauteng."


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