Durban gets International Aids Congress for second time
Durban had beaten London and the Turkish city of Istanbul in the race to host the International Aids Congress in 2016, the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau revealed on Tuesday.
The win is a coup for Durban as it will become the first city to host the global mega-conference twice. The city last hosted the event in 2000 when child Aids activist Nkosi Johnson famously addressed the conference and made an impassioned plea to the world to fight the scourge.
That event attracted more than 12 000 international delegates including activists, academics, health experts, government officials and media. The 2012 International Aids Congress in Washington attracted about 20 000 delegates and the 2016 event was expected to attract similar numbers.
An elated eThekwini mayor, James Nxumalo, said the event would be the biggest congress to be hosted in South Africa.
“Winning this latest conference bid once again emphasises the considerable ability of our country and our city to host mega events,” said Nxumalo.
Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said: “The International Aids Congress is one of the most significant global association-related congresses. It is set to be attended by 20 000 delegates and the expected economic impact will be in the region of R700 million.”
Andrew Layman, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive, said it was “outstanding news”.
He said the event had huge significance because of the impact of Aids on economic activity.
South African Tourism chief executive Thulani Nzima said beating London and Istanbul proved that South Africa had the ability to compete and win against the best business events destinations.
James Seymour, chief executive officer of the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, yesterday thanked everyone who helped the city and Durban International Convention Centre win the bid.
“The bureau was requested by the International AIDS Society, custodians of the congress, to co-ordinate this bid. We thank everyone involved in putting together this winning bid and the resources required to host this mega event,” he said.
The 21st International Aids Congress takes place at the ICC from July 17 to 20, 2016.