PLANS ARE UNDERWAY TO REOPEN THE HILTON HOTEL IN DURBAN, WHICH TEMPORARILY CLOSED DUE TO THE PANDEMIC, WITH PREPARATIONS AND REHIRING OF STAFF TAKING PLACE.
An official from the EMEA Communications confirmed that Hilton Hotel in Durban is currently closed but expressed anticipation for its reopening. Updates on the reopening timeline will be provided once confirmed.
Preparations Underway for Reopening
Lindiwe Rakharebe, CEO of Inkosi Albert Luthuli Conversion Centre (ICC), has disclosed that the hotel is being readied for reopening. Rakharebe addressed the challenges faced by the hotel, mentioning that services had been disconnected but were successfully reconnected.
The owner had initially planned for the hotel to open by October, and later by the festive season, but faced setbacks. The ICC, located nearby, considers the hotel a crucial partner due to its proximity, with many guests favoring the convenience. The hotel has missed out on hosting several significant functions of the ICC. The hotel intends to rehire some of its staff as part of its reopening plans.
In January 2021, it was reported that Hilton would temporarily close over 1,000 hotels worldwide due to pandemic-related revenue decline. However, recent revelations suggest the hotel in Durban will reopen.
Proposed Additional Hotel despite Hilton Reopening
The ICC and the municipality have been discussing the construction of another five-star hotel in the city to increase capacity. The need for an additional hotel was emphasized, even with the Hilton reopening.
ANC councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo questioned the absence of a hotel at the ICC, emphasizing the importance of having one for such a facility. EFF councillor Thabane Miya expressed satisfaction with the mayor’s remarks about the reopening, recognizing the negative impact of the hotel’s closure on the city’s economy.
DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa welcomed the plans to reopen the hotel but stressed the need to address sewage issues. He believed that merely opening a tourism facility without resolving the sewerage problem would not suffice.
Brett Tungay of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa questioned the necessity of another hotel in Durban, asserting that the city already had sufficient hotel capacity, particularly near the ICC. He believed the existing beachfront hotels catered well to top-end business travel.