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Durban firmly on tourism map

Durban - Suddenly Durban is on the map, internationally, featuring as a great destination on television shows and online, much to the delight of tourism bosses.

Durban recently secured its place as the only African city on the New 7 Wonders Cities list, a global campaign to find the world’s best cities. The final announcement will be made towards the end of the year.

But this is not the only feather in the city’s cap.

Durban also made international headlines for the MTV Africa Music Awards, won titles for being friendly and “under-rated”, and is being showcased on National Geographic.

“To be positioned among other leading global cities like London and Mumbai proudly shows the commitment and competitive edge of our city as a leading tourism, events and business destination. We have recently been voted the Friendliest City in South Africa and CNN voted Durban one of the World’s most Under-rated Cities. We are delighted that the world finally recognises the great potential of Durban,” said eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo.

Durban hosted major events such as the MTV Africa Music Awards in June, bringing international stars such as Trey Songz and Miguel. One of the famous Kardashian sisters, Khloe, also attended.

Durban will also be under the spotlight internationally when thousands of delegates are expected to arrive next month for the 25th World Congress on Architecture.

The city is busy sprucing up the region, which will come under the critical eye of delegates.

These events are the reason Durban deserves to be called one of the best cities in the world, said head of Durban Tourism Phillip Sithole.

“This is a huge accolade for Durban, the tourism impact for a city to achieve this global status is tremendous, as visitors tend to visit cities that have been nominated on the 7 Wonder lists,” said Sithole.

Durban’s architecture, which would be on show and help put the city on the international list of best cities includes the Moses Mabhida Stadium, uShaka Marine World and the leading conference venue in Africa, the International Convention Centre.

Added to this, said Sithole, was the warm hospitality, a rich cultural diversity and a vibrant urban lifestyle.

Akash Singh, president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the chamber was overjoyed at the success of Durban.

“It makes one feel proud to be a Durbanite, to see the city reflected as it is among the great cities of the world. The enhancement of the international image of Durban is a Durban Tourism strategy which the chamber supports 100 percent,” said Singh.

This week the city also launched the Smart Cities Campaign, a documentary that forms part of the National Geographic Campaign, designed to encourage travel and tourism to the city. Durban is one of 18 cities from around the world to be featured.

Durban is presented as a 21st century relevant “Liveable” city. “National Geographic has created an engaging campaign of relevant and impactful content delivered across multiple global platforms to a curious, engaged audience of global travellers, and thus far has reached an audience of 469 million global viewers,” said Sithole.

The one-hour documentary is hosted by Digital Nomad Andrew Evans and Phindi Gule, and focuses on Destination Durban as a Smart City.

“It will also bring to life unique and rich personalities to share their stories, and global icons like Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be profiled,” said Sithole.

Arthi Sanpath, Independent on Saturday

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