Durban to host Sports and Events Tourism Exchange
Infrastructural expansion intensified across South Africa since the FiFa World Cup in 2010 and the hospitality industry locally has sustained the momentum with developments and upgrades taking place rapidly across the spectrum.
Designed specifically to place Africa at the forefront of event tourism, the Sports and Events Tourism Exchange, which takes place at the Durban ICC from 22 to 24 October, welcomes consultation on how the continent and individual provinces can further position themselves internationally to host medium and large sporting events.
This is according to the conference manifesto, which indicates that sport tourism is one of the fastest growing areas of the global travel and tourism industry and can be exemplified by the links between hospitality, leisure, sport and tourism networks. The links are predominant enough to play a vital economic role for countries as a whole, which is why Africa is eager to claim its spot.
Attesting to the readiness of KwaZulu-Natal to host major sporting events and conferences, a number of key developments were noted since the world cup, specifically the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the coastal hospitality industry.
Research conducted by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Tourism (TKZN), sport as a sector contributes significantly to the economy of South Africa and acts as an attraction agent to destinations. The study also revealed that many of non-resident visitors stayed at family hotels and were attracted to the beaches, uShaka Marine World Marine World and the iconic stadium.
Commenting on the Durban’s capabilities to host major events, property developer Vejan Pillay referred to his developments as a result of demand.
“As a property developer and hotelier, I have witnessed the demand for new developments and upgrades in this city. Our growth proves that we, as a city, are capable of hosting world-class events and the subsequent tourism pull,” Pillay said.
“My own hotels, Three Cities Square Boutique Hotel & Spa and Three Cities Urban Park Hotel & Spa generate a lot of corporate interest and I believe it is because the corporate-friendly trends in Durban have improved drastically over the last few years as well,” he added.
With conferences like the Sports and Events Tourism Exchange, Pillay believes the hospitality can collectively assist in branding SA as a tourism hotspot.
Sharing Pillay’s sentiments was Riverside Hotel & Spa General Manager, Jerod Flaum.
“Durban is blessed with great weather all year round as well as the warm Indian ocean. Many of the international guests and even those from other provinces who stay at Riverside Hotel & Spa love this city for those reasons,” he said. “Essentially we have the ideal set up for event hosting.”
- For more information on the Sports and Events Tourism Exchange, visit www.sportsandevents.co.za