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Virtual Destination Promotion of the Durban Experience: Durban’s Virtual July Experience
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Date: 2021-10-04 10:50:40

Virtual Destination Promotion of the Durban Experience: Durban’s Virtual July Experience


10 July 2020
 “Today’s launch of the Durban Virtual July Experience campaign coincides with a moment that ushers in a gleamer of hope, especially to the tourism and hospitality businesses, as we have recently entered advanced level three lockdown regulations. Moreover, we remain hopeful that the City’s economic recovery plan, which we presented in April, will go a long way in assisting businesses to recover.”
 This is the message from Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, at the launch of the Durban Virtual July Experience, incorporating the Vodacom Durban July horseracing event taking place later this month. The Durban Virtual July Experience is a concept that will promote the travel experience that the city of Durban has to offer through its attractions and remind people of what it felt like to be in Durban during the Vodacom Durban July weekend. It is also aimed at encouraging visitors especially locals to explore what Durban has to offer as the lockdown regulations are gradually de-risked. This campaign follows the Durban Cares and Know Your Durban Campaign that the City has activated since the start of the lockdown as part of keeping the Durban brand awareness alive.
 The campaign encompasses an integrated virtual marketing plan for the City that includes Radio, TV and digital campaign that will highlight our wide range of tourism products and attractions. During this launch the socio-economic impact of one of the biggest horse racing events in Africa, the Vodacom Durban July (VDJ) was unpacked. While it is appreciated that expected economic spins offs are not equivalent to those that would be gained in a normal Durban July festivity, the City is encouraged that from the various business activities, there will be beneficiaries in the value chain of the required goods and services. Further, the 2020 VDJ will be a creative stage for the City’s fashion programme (Durban Fashion Fair) and will prompt the reimagination in the staging of different pillars of the VDJ including the glitz and glamour of the fashion show.
 Themed “Butterflies”, this Africa’s biggest horse racing spectacular, will be held on 25th July 2020. For the first time in history of its inception, it will be happening behind closed doors due to lockdown regulations that prevents the hosting of mass events and gatherings. But horseracing followers across the world can still be part of the VDJ through various media platforms as they reminisce on their experiences of visiting Durban. Mayor, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda further says this was done in order to both give the usual spectators their annual dose of entertainment and fun while at home and to also ensure that the Durban brand remains top of mind to potential visitors and future investors.
 “For us as the City of Durban, we partner with events to market the destination and the Vodacom Durban July is one of those events that have put Durban on the global map and calendar of events. With this strategic partnership, we are saying people must stay home and be safe but remember to visit Durban and various tourism services and products that are of world standards, as the government gradually opens the country’s economy. We have opted to do this by partnering with some of the strong brands, events and media personnel, the Vodacom Durban July is one the events that tick all such boxes,” he said. “The VDJ fits snugly within the virtual Know Your Durban campaign considering that it is also executed, as it is, virtually. Therefore, the partnership between Durban Tourism and the VDJ is not only historical and ritualistic, but a pragmatic meeting of minds between two properties whose objectives are mutually-reinforcing. In this regard, the VDJ is a perfect platform for the execution of the mandate of Durban Tourism, particularly during this difficult period of Covid-19 pandemic,” added Kaunda.
 Kaunda went on the explain that most of the elements that have made the Vodacom Durban July like fashion and entertainment will also be featured in this year’s gala, even though people will not be at the venue physically.
 FASHIONThe VDJ provides a platform to showcase and celebrate fashion talent, particularly local designers for which the City is known for through the Durban Fashion Fair programme, and as the City, we’ve always embraced VDJ as a platform not just for horseracing, but for its influence on fashion, business, society and culture as well. The Durban Fashion Fair will again this year host its VDJ fashion and designer showcase virtually, in order to give spectators a taste of what is currently trendy and happening in the fashion space and to unleash new and best talent.
Highlights of this year’s fashion showcase will be by some of the best talent that the City has to offer, including DFF 2019 winners and designers supplying the DFF emporium. The DFF invited designers comprise of Lebogang Kekana of QUITERIA, Athenkosi Mfungula of LeMFUX, Zama Gumede of Zaviar Fashion House, Kwenzi Nkomo of Indoni Fashion House, Makhosi Ntshangase of Sistas Felas Trading and Projects (PTY) ltd, Kazadi Wilson Mukeya of Victor Fashion Kingdom, Njabulo Mlambo of #Game Changers, Sandile Duke Mngadi of DUKE "Clothe Your Soul", Nosipho Diko and Shaun Majola of Nguni Shades.
The programme will also feature online VDJ Fashion Workshops such as Hat/ Fascinator Making, Masks & Makeup, and Creative “Raceday” Ensembles. Ideally, we want to show people how they can take some existing fashion items they may have, and jazz them up for their own stay-at-home VDJ race day experience. It will also include activations that will showcase fashion talent and tourism, and the Young Designers Awards that DFF is a partner in. The Young Designer Awards is a critical part of this partnership, as it targets new and undiscovered talent from local fashion design colleges.
ENTERTAINMENTAs part of dispersal destination promotion, Durban Tourism has partnered with some local township and rural establishments in order to host virtual entertainment sessions. These are mainly aimed at ensuring that local tourism products also benefit on the festivities of the virtual July festivities to boost local economies in these difficult times and also promote them in anticipation of attracting visitors when the leisure travel is fully allowed. 
“The City’s decisive approach to hosting of all major events is that it must benefit locals, especially township and rural areas. This has been done through leveraging on activations like pre and after parties to township establishments. We continue to be in consultation with the tourism sector and all stakeholders to ensure the that we achieve full business compliance with the Covid-19 lockdown regulations and have our businesses ready for operation as in line with the ongoing de-risking of lockdown regulations. This is within the vision of maintaining the state of business readiness for Durban and we say Durban is ready,” said Mayor Kaunda.
To join Durban July Experience Virtual Launch taking place today, 10 July at 12h00, register via this link; https://cvent.me/ZQOBM0
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications Mandla Nsele. For comment from the city, contact eThekwini Mu