Andrew Human, the chief executive of the mega Loeries event, which starts on Monday, shows off one of the sought-after awards. Picture: Leon Lestrade
DURBAN - Andrew Human, the chief executive of the prestigious Loeries awards event, loves Durban’s beaches, but believes locals underestimate their “phenomenal” attraction.

“Durbanites always think that the grass is greener on the other side and I don’t think they realise what they have in terms of a destination.

“People don’t realise the value of being so close to the ocean,” he said at a media briefing about next week’s big Loeries Creative Week in Durban. The Loeries is a non-profit company administering awards for the brand communications industry, in Africa and the Middle East.

Delegates would be coming from Africa, England, Dubai and, “travelling long distances, but it is the last 100m that makes the difference”, Human said.

“The trip will be worth it when they open their hotel windows and look at the ocean it is a fantastic environment a jewel. But it is undervalued.”

He said he had gone for a bike ride along the beachfront at 5am on Thursday when the temperature was 17ºC. It was 3ºC in Johannesburg and about 10ºC in Cape Town, he pointed out. Then he went to a coffee shop where there was a man with no shirt on - “in the middle of winter”.

“It is not just sunny, it is sunny and warm,” he raved.

He said Durban was the perfect venue to stage the Loeries, which would have a massive economic impact on the city and beyond,

The event, which employs 560 people directly (92% of them black), had an economic impact last year of R169million, up 44% on the previous year.

The world-class Loeries awards recognises excellence in the industry and the week-long event, which starts on Monday and includes more than 30 fringe events, costs R60m to stage, with an R8m contribution being split between the eThekwini Municipality and the provincial government.

The return on the R8m investment was a “phenomenal” R170m, said Carol Coetzee, the chief executive of the KZN Film Commission.

She said 16000 people attended last year’s Loeries, compared to the 5000 when it was held in Cape Town. More than 3% of the visitors were international and more than 80% came from outside the province, each spending an average of four nights in local hotels.

The Loeries organisation had committed to using 40% of its budget on black-owned suppliers, but had far exceeded that, she said.

The Film Commission would host a dinner for the top international judges, to enable them to network with local film-makers and to promote KZN for locations for commercials.

The Loeries has attracted more than 3000 entries from 22 countries outside South Africa.

Dozens of disadvantaged KZN students will get free entry into the high-profile seminars, while interns from Durban institutions will get the chance to work with local and international industry leaders.

Scholarships are also up for grabs, with one of last year’s beneficiaries, Mali Khuzwayo, 18, of Mayville, a former Mowat Park High School pupil, saying on Thursday she still “could not believe” being awarded a three-year scholarship to pursue her passion for design.

Daily News