Thursday, 17 April 2014

uShaka Marine World

uShaka Marine World wrecked ship turned into Aquarium

Even though South Africa is easily one of the biggest tourism hubs in Africa and reaping billions of dollars in receipts from the sector, the country is not getting any complacent.

The Southern African country is turning its attention to other African countries, particularly Ghana to increase its tourism inflows.

NEWS-ONE’s Francis Addo caught up with Phumcani Qwabe, an official at Durban’s Tourism Information Centre in South Africa over the weekend as he toured several tourism sites in that province with other journalists.

So what is Kwazulu Natal?

Kwazula Natal is a province. Here in South Africa, the country is divided into nine provinces and Kwazulu Natal is one of those provinces under which Durban falls. In terms of tourism marketing, we have Tourism Kwazulu Natal which it is like the head of tourism marketing.
Durban is city in Kwazulu Natal. Its capital is Pietermaritzburg which is about 45 minutes from Durban. But in terms of infrastructure, Pietermaritzburg is nothing compared to Durban.   

What’s the number one experience that tourists should expect in Durban?

I will say Ushaka Marine World. It is a place to be. They have variety of activities that can’t stop you having fun and relaxing on a holiday.  I think it is the only place you will like to spend the whole day at.

What is the unique thing about Durban that visitors from Ghana and other part of the world must know?

Tourists are tourists and I will say they are the same. But in terms of behaviour, understanding, social life in Durban, there are differences. And that is caused maybe by perceptions from their different countries.

Do you offer adventure travel trips here in Durban?

Yes, we do offer adventure trips here. There is the Valley of a 1000 Hills of which you will find adventure tours. You can also go to Inanda Heritage Route. It is one of the routes that we are marketing currently. In five years to come Inanda Heritage Route is going to become one of the best attractions of Durban.

Where does the core of your visitors come from?

Most of our tourist visitors come from Britain due to their spending power. Also based on my reading I discovered that Africa is also bringing more tourists to South Africa.  

What are your tourism figures like?
I can assure you that in 2011, we received about five million visitors for that year alone.

What new market are you targeting?

Right now, our new target now would be the entire world. Yes! Now we are known in Africa, we are known in Europe but we haven’t been receiving the numbers we should have received. So now we are trying to change it to ensure that we become number one.

What is Durban’s ranking in South African tourism?

We are supposed to be number one but we are number two because Cape Town is number one. We are chasing them and that is why we are coming up with different strategies in our industry to turn things around. By 2020 we are surely going to be the number one in South Africa and Africa’s smartest city.

What is Durban’s contribution to South Africa’s national growth?

You see, what is important is that as much as we get more people employed in the tourism sector, they pay tax, which is contributing to our national revenues. So this turnaround strategy is promising about two hundred and seventy-six thousand jobs in the tourism sector which is a good sign. And that’s only for Durban.

How do you measure your tourism performance in Durban?

There is a long way to go. Of course we need the dedication and also qualified personnel to make sure things are in order in the next five years.

Security is imperative in tourism. How successful has Durban been in that area?

In terms of security, I can say we have done enough. I am sure since you have been to Durban; you have noticed that after every three minutes you will see a security guard especially in the prominent offices down here. In the city centre, every two minutes you will notice a security guard. At our tourism sites we also have security guards there. So everywhere you go, we want to ensure that tourists firstly feel safe because I think that’s the most critical part. As you are a tourist at very unusual place, the first thing is to feel safe, which is very important to us. This is why we have deployed so much security and Metro Police. There are a lot of Metro Police if you walk down the street. Right now I don’t have the number of security guards out there but I can say they are a lot.

Any challenges you want to share about the tourism industry?
Right now, inadequate personnel is a major challenge. There is not enough manpower. There are a lot of people who assume to work but they don’t have the passion for it. If you come to this department and you are not passionate about the job then obviously you won’t work to perfection and that’s a problem.

By Francis Addo (Twitter: @fdee50 Email:


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Award winning Ghanaian Journalist with Western Publications Limited; publishers of Daily Guide, Business Guide, News-One and Young Blazers.

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