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Iconic Durban hotel closes its doors as Covid-19 tightens grip on hospitality industry

DURBAN – One of the most prestigious hotels in the KwaZulu-Natal province, the Hilton Durban, will close its doors on Monday, January 11.

The hotel did not explicitly state the reason for the closure. However, an employee did confirm that they plan to reopen in the future.

“We are currently not taking bookings past the 11th of January as we will be closing, sir, but we will be reopening,” a Hilton employee told the African News Agency (ANA) on Friday.

This comes after the Hilton group decided to close down more than a thousand of its hotels around the world due to a reported steep decline in revenue brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hilton Durban, however, isn’t the only hotel in the province to suffer a major knock from the pandemic. The Fairmont Zimbali Hotel underwent business rescue in September 2020.

The general manager of Fairmont Zimbali, Wayne Krambeck, said the decision to undergo business rescue was made to safeguard the interests of its stakeholders, as the tourism industry faced disruptions because of the virus.

“The consequent stagnation in global economic activity together with the South African government-imposed national state of disaster has impacted negatively on our business,” Krambeck said.

Two other major players in the South African hospitality industry, Sun International and Tsogo Sun, also faced financial challenges as both their share prices declined significantly during the year.

SUI owns and operates around 19 resorts across South Africa, as well as two hotels in Latin America.

The Tsogo Sun Group (JSE: TSG), another huge South African hotel and casino operator, saw its shares decline by more than 57%.

Tsogo Sun operates 92 hotels across South Africa and another eight throughout the rest of the continent.

The group also operates two hotels abroad, one in the UAE and another in Seychelles.

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