In a city that was once known for its storied history of industrial growth, Durban has seen a dramatic rise in hotel sales.
The city’s tourism industry is estimated at $10 billion, with hotels accounting for $2.3 billion.
The city’s government is expecting a $500 million increase in hotel taxes.
“In Durban it’s been very difficult to get the hotel industry to come back, because of the environmental concerns,” said Kristian Lundquist, who manages the Durban Hotel and Conference Centre.
Lundquist said hotels in Durban were always a difficult investment, but this year they are coming back.
“We were already having problems, but they’ve been coming back because of a certain level of interest,” he said.
The hotel industry in the country is the largest in the world.
According to the Tourism Council of Durban (TCD), the hotel business contributes $10.8 billion in revenue to the city.
“The hotel is a huge part of our economic activity,” said TCD President and CEO Mina Lönnqvist.
Lönnquist said that in recent years, hotels have become more affordable, which has helped the hotel economy.
“Our economy has grown by 15% and by a third in Durham,” she said.
“It’s a lot better than when I came here [in 1998].
It was very difficult.
It’s a good way to keep the lights on, because you have to pay for them.”
Lundqvist said that the city is seeing an influx of foreign visitors, but the hotel sector in Durburn has had an average of about two new guests every month.
The increase in foreign visitors has also helped with the growth of the hotel industries in the city, said Lundqvist, and the hotels are seeing a rise in business as well.
“They want to come to Durban and they’re coming because they want to go somewhere they can have a good experience and a good hotel experience,” she explained.
“There are a lot of people who are trying to find a hotel in Durabja and now they can.”
Londquist said hotel sales have been strong in Durba and are growing.
“I don’t think it’s really a question of people coming here to buy [luxury] hotels, it’s that they’re not going to be able to get a hotel and they don’t want to buy a hotel,” she added.
“If they were able to buy hotels, I think it would be very good.
The hotel industry would be booming, and I think that would be good.”
Lundyquist said she hopes the tourism industry will be able a bounce back.
She said the hotels in the Durabra area have a lot to offer, and that the government needs to step in to make sure they continue to be successful.
“As much as we want to see the hotel boom, it will take a lot more than that,” she stated.
“One thing we need to do is give more support to the hotels and help them build the infrastructure so that they can operate more efficiently.”
Lonnie Loeber is the president and CEO of the Hotel Development Association of Durabwa, which represents hotels and conference centres in the region.
“Durabwa is the second largest hotel market in the continent and we see a lot [of hotel growth], but we also see an increase in demand for hotels in other parts of the country,” he told HuffPost.
“So we need a strong infrastructure for hotel growth and that infrastructure has to come from the hotel development associations.”
The hotel development association is currently negotiating with the Ministry of Tourism and Sport to set up a committee to determine whether Durabawa should have its own hotel development agency.
Loeber said he believes that in Durbawa, hotels will continue to grow because the city has been very supportive of them.
“This is Durban; this is Durabha, this is the city,” he explained.