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A stunning beachfront, golden sands and year-round sunshine combine to make Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, one of the world’s most promising tourist destinations.
Benefitting from an extensive revamp prior to the 2010 World Cup, the city’s ‘golden mile’ stretches across a beachfront comprising numerous popular tourist attractions, including the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment complex, uShaka Marine World, an ocean walkway and the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Overlooking the beach is the cosmopolitan city itself, filled with world-class restaurants, leisure and retail options. Situated at the heart of a substantial sugar-growing region, many of the original Indian labourers have stayed in the area, adding a uniquely distinctive Eastern flavour to its culture and food.
Sport plays a large part in the lives of many Durbanites, illustrated by the city having recently hosted some major gatherings; the preliminary draw for the 2010 World Cup, the 123rd International Olympic Committee session and the final draw for the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
The largest city in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Durban is not only a significant national and international tourist destination, but also a major centre for trade and commerce. The city is served by King Shaka International Airport (part of the continent’s first purpose built aerotropolis, the Dube TradePort) and offers state-of-the-art facilities for passengers and freight transfer.
The airport recorded 4.47 million passengers in 2013 and though the majority (4.18 million) were domestic travellers, international traffic grew by more than 20% compared with the previous year. Offering an extensive domestic and intercontinental network, airlines currently operating scheduled flights include South African Airways, Emirates, British Airways (operated by franchisee Comair) and LOT Polish Airlines.
The bid to host World Routes was driven by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, with stakeholders including: Tourism KwaZulu-Natal; Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal; Airports Company South Africa; King Shaka International Airport; Dube TradePort Corporation; South Africa National Convention Bureau; Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau; and South African Airways.
“We have seen how air services have improved in airports that have hosted these events,” says Provincial Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, Michael Mabuyakhulu. “It is, therefore, our plan to leverage on the hosting of World Routes 2015 to help grow airlift out of King Shaka Airport.”
Head of future hosting for Routes events, Ged Brown, adds: “African aviation is seen as an area of real growth and excitement across the world, so it feels like the time is absolutely right to bring World Routes to the continent for the first time.”
The 21st World Routes event will be held September 19-22 in Durban’s International Convention Centre (ICC), located in the heart of the city. The award-winning venue has also welcomed international conferences such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 5th BRCIS Summit and Indaba – Africa’s leading travel and tourism show.