The tourism industry has suffered immensely since the outbreak of the pandemic, and many hotels have closed permanently. Throughout 2020, while many hotel groups paused development, there were hotel chains that did the exact opposite. A nationwide hotel group has emerged from lockdown after a half-a-billion rand investment bolstering two new-builds and four refurbished properties across South Africa, boosting the tourism sector subsequent to travel restrictions having been lifted. ALSO READ: Do you have what it takes to stir the pot on Come Dine with Me? Premier Hotels & Resorts strategically chose to acquire land in Umhlanga and develop during the pandemic. This is certainly reassuring for the revival of the industry and the securement of jobs. Its significant R365 million spend covered the construction of two hotels on one precinct high up on Umhlanga Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal. The new builds are a 4-star Premier Hotel Umhlanga with 127 bedrooms designed to maximise the use of its location, with all bedrooms having unrivalled Indian Ocean views and balcony access and a 3-star Premier Splendid Inn Umhlanga that will feature 63 bedrooms, its own 50-seater restaurant along with a spectacular conference centre. An appetite for travel still definitely exists \u201cThis marks another milestone as we expand and project the brand\u2019s robust growth in the region, further showcasing the group\u2019s strong commitment to South Africa,\u201d says Samuel Nassimov, MD of one of South Africa\u2019s fastest growing, independently-owned hotel groups, Premier Hotels & Resorts. \u201cLow occupancy rates generated its own set of challenges but we remain optimistic and relentless in finding efficiencies to maximise future opportunities.\u201d An appetite for travel still definitely exists with business travellers and travel confidence continuously increasing, but corporate travel can only be expected to recover considerably to pre-pandemic levels by June 2022. Premier Umhlanga boasts a 120-seater restaurant and bar, swimming pool and a flexible fully sub-divisible conference centre, accessible via the 3-star property, catering for up to 300 attendees. It has an open-air timber view deck with glass balustrade, allowing conference delegates to enjoy views of the surrounding Umhlanga precinct from the 10th floor. The urban styled, modern and contemporary Premier Splendid Inn Umhlanga will feature 63 bedrooms, its own 50-seater restaurant and conference centre. Guests in this 7-floor hotel are able to access the third floor rooftop pool with main access from the 4-star property. Premier also acquired two properties in Sandton (Premier Hotel Quartermain and Premier Hotel Fallstaff) to renovate during the downturn of business travel. \u201cWe also made significant investments into renovations of two of our resort offerings as well, namely Premier Hotel Roodevalley and Premier Resort Cutty Sark to support the appetite for local travel,\u201d shared Nassimov. Cutty Sark, a famous landmark resort in Scottburgh on the KZN South Coast. The investment to Cutty Sark, a famous landmark resort in Scottburgh on the KZN South Coast helped to restore it to its former glory so it could reopen in time for the holiday season late last year. It encompassed a complete refurbishment of all 59 sea-facing rooms, adding a further 39 rooms and upgrading furnishings, decor, and equipment. The resort is a completely re-imagined mecca for holiday makers, leisure seekers, conference groups and diving enthusiasts with a dive school that specialises in the Aliwal Shoal Diving Experience. It now boasts a new swimming pool, outdoor terrace with spectacular views, cocktail pool deck experience, with direct access to the swimming beach - as well as upgraded bars, restaurants and pizza oven, new facades, extensive upgrades to the dining room, foyer and reception areas. The new, modern conference centre opened last month. With South Africa listed as a top holiday destination for 2021 there\u2019s still hope that the hospitality industry\u2019s five-year history of being explosive, is set to change.