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Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) is going all out to regain and rebuild the province’s international tourism market, decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To do this TKZN is engaging with top tour operators from various European countries to lock deals that drive international tourists to the province ahead of the Europe Summer Season. Recently TKZN returned from a Northern European travel roadshow and a five-day exhibition at Vakantiebeurs in the Netherlands with South African Tourism (SAT).

The Netherlands and Belgium rank as the fourth and fifth largest European tourist markets for KZN behind the UK, Germany and France.

“In-country initiatives and activations are an important part of international tourism marketing. They enable tourism destinations to engage directly with international buyers and tour operators who are responsible for bringing tourists to destinations. This is also where we gain valuable insight into the needs and perceptions of our target markets,” said TKZN Acting Chief Executive Mr. Sibusiso Gumbi.

“Platforms like these allow us to lobby for KZN to feature in international brochures, distributed at various travel agencies around the world, ensuring that KZN is featured amongst must visit tourism destinations.

“Relationships are critical in the tourism sector, and it is important to stay on top of the game and constantly engage with partners about new developments and changes taking place in our province. Later this year TKZN will participate in ITB Berlin and WTM London. In order to position KZN as a global player, it is vital for us to be where key decisions are made,” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal’s international tourist numbers are improving slowly, with the total number of international tourists rising by 22% in the first six months of 2023 compared to the same time last year.

As much as leisure tourism is important so is business and conference tourism and Kwazulu-Natal’s Convention Bureau (KZNCB) and TKZN will be at Meetings Africa 2024 to market the province as a leading meeting and conferences destination. Meetings Africa attracts hundreds of international buyers from the African continent and across the globe.

“By attracting mega business events and many smaller conferences that can be hosted in some of our smaller towns ensures that the impact of tourism is felt across the province,” said Gumbi.

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