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South Coast down, but not out

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02 Jul 2008

The accommodation industry on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast has been hard hit by the devastation that recently struck the area.

"With the arrival of the sardines, this area was all set for a very successful season during our annual Sardine Run when the storm hit our coastline. Rivers overflowed their banks and carried along debris, trees and everything that stood in its way. Although there was minimal property damage on the Margate beachfront, the areas set further inland seemed to have born the brunt of this un-seasonal weather, with many people being evacuated and displaced," says Dina Porteous, Pam Golding Properties (PGP) area principal based in Margate.

"Typical of the South Coast, just minutes after the disaster struck local people dug deep into their cupboards and pockets and quickly donations of food, blankets and clothing were received. With the news running on national and international news agencies the Pam Golding Leisure Letting telephone soon started to ring with calls from those cancelling their July holiday reservations. Although the letting properties themselves were not affected, people felt that they would rather postpone their holidays to a time when they can fully utilise the beaches."

With the area's main industry being tourism, the mid-year season is an important revenue generator for business owners, seeing them through to the summer season.

"The high petrol prices have in fact boosted demand for accommodation among domestic tourists during the first half of the year with occupancy increasing to over 45%, affording relief to owners of holiday units who were feeling the pinch as a result of higher interest rates. Currently, bookings stand on average at 20% and letting agents are being more negotiable on their daily tariffs. This is to encourage tourists to make use of last minute bookings to enjoy the warm winters for which the South Coast is renowned. In addition, the weatherman is not predicting any major storms in the next few weeks," she says.

Knowing the importance of the tourism industry on the South Coast the Municipality prioritised implementation of the clean-up operation and both Margate and Ramsgate Beaches are ready to receive tourists wishing to escape the winter chill in the inland areas. "The local Sardine Festival is on track and where necessary events have been moved to areas that were not affected."

For more information contact 039 317 3003 or send an email.

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