Date: 2022-05-12 13:14:05
Proposed ‘Durban Eye’ highlighted during 2022 Africa Travel Indaba
Delivering on its theme of “Rebuilding the local tourism sector”, the City promoted Durban to the 3 700 delegates attending the 2022 Africa Travel Indaba.
The Indaba was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 2 to 5 May.
EThekwini Municipality highlighted the many attractions and tourism developments in the pipeline. Among this is the changing of the City’s skyline with the construction of a multi-million-rand ferris wheel, the Durban Eye. It will be built along the beachfront promenade. The expected launch date is February 2023, just in time for the Easter holidays. This development intrigued many Indaba delegates, including international media.
The developer of the R450 million Durban Eye has been appointed and expected to start onsite in July. This will offer tourists a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the City. The 60-meter-high attraction will boast 30 to 36 eight-seater cabins. The full rotation of the wheel will take 20 minutes. Retail businesses will surround the structure.
It will be situated at the southern end of the beachfront, bordering the harbour entrance channel. The site looks toward the Bluff headland and will welcome cargo and passenger cruise ships into the newly built passenger cruise terminal, the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal.
The position of the Durban Eye aims to attract visitors to the city centre.
The Indaba was a resounding success with a direct projected spend of R29 million. There were 655 exhibitors, 126 African products were showcased, and 19 countries from the continent, including South Africa, were present.
There were 956 buyers (who buy tourism products and experiences for their customers), with 450 being international buyers and the remainder local South African buyers. More than 22 000 meetings had been logged in the diary system with just over 14 000 meetings held.
A total of 377 media from 21 different countries were hosted, 274 were local, 51 were from African countries, and 52 were international media.
Other exciting developments in the pipeline for the City includes the opening of the 200-bedroom Radisson Blu Hotel at the Oceans project in uMhlanga ahead of the winter season in June this year. The R650 million hotel has 20 000 black investors, and the City will spend R100 million on public transport facilities and the upgrade of nearby roads. The overall investment is more than R1 billion from the private sector.
Furthermore, to ensure the sector’s sustainable recovery, eThekwini continues to work with the region’s route development committee to attract more international flights and to enhance intra-Africa trade. The plans include reactivating the Air Namibia flights and reigniting talks with Qatar and Emirates airlines to fly direct to Durban again.
Royal Eswatini Air is due to start flying to King Shaka International Airport, Monday to Saturday starting in the first week of June.
This follows the commencement of direct flights on the Air Link route from Harare to Durban operating three times a week as from March this year.
EThekwini Executive Committee member Councillor Nkosenhle Madlala said: “Durban’s story is one of resilience against all odds. We hosted key target markets to explore the City’s newest tourism products offerings in various regions. Many were impressed and want to come back and fully discover the eThekwini.”