The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) has announced that it will assist the Hilton hotel in Durban in resolving its financial crisis.

This comes as the Covid-19 pandemic put an unprecedented economic strain on the hospitality industry worldwide.

KZN’s EDTEA member of the executive committee Ravi Pillay said that the department respected and understood the reasons behind the hotel’s closure, which were primarily financial.

“While this is not a preferred situation, it must be noted that the closure of the Hilton Durban hotel happens in the context of a depressed global economy,” Pillay said in a statement on Sunday.

“As a provincial government, we value the Hilton hotel as a strategic investment in our province. Together with other spheres of government, including the eThekwini Municipality, we will continue working with the Hilton to ensure that we find solutions and to ensure they reopen their doors soon,” said Pillay.

The MEC said he hoped the vaccine roll-out plan, which the Department of Health said would begin by January and February 2021, would help speed up the economic recovery and in turn help businesses in need.

The Hilton Durban officially closed its doors on Monday, January 11.

The hotel unofficially announced its closure last week, after an employee told the African News Agency (ANA) that they would no longer be accepting bookings past Monday.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the Hilton group, which owns and operates around one million rooms worldwide, has closed down more than a thousand of its hotels.

The Hilton Durban was the second South African branch to close its doors after the Hilton Cape Town closed down last year.