File photo: Awards handed out during the events Creative Week are just one half of what make up the Loeries. Pictue: Neil baynes

Cape Town - The Loeries have migrated to Durban. But the move isn’t expected to foul the nest for Cape Town. The awards, which were set up in the late 1970s to recognise “excellence” in advertising, are estimated to be worth almost R100-million to the Western Cape’s tourism industry.

It’s a bigger earner than most of the province’s events, including the J&B Met, which generates about R60m for the local economy.

However, Tourism MEC Alan Winde said the event’s departure won’t hurt the province, predicting that the gap it has left on Cape Town’s calendar will soon be filled.

After calling Cape Town home for the past few years, the event’s organisers wrote in a statement: “Now, it’s Durban’s turn.”

Loerie Awards company chief executive Andrew Human said the move was a practical one. “Durban can be reached fairly easily by plane or car from Cape Town and Johannesburg, which makes it affordable and convenient for the majority of participants. It is also sunny and warm virtually year round, and the Durban International Conference Centre will allow us to increase our seating capacity.”

KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Michael Mabuyakhulu, estimated that hosting the awards would inject R100m into the local economy.

City mayor James Nxumalo said they were delighted to be the hosts of what was the most important annual showcase for the Pan African brand communications industry. “This will provide Durban with a unique opportunity to showcase its talents and potential in this realm. In addition, the Loeries will provide representatives of our local creative industry with a chance to participate in and learn from this key event.”

It’s another big step for Durban, a city set to be a frontrunner in South Africa’s bid for the 2024 or 2028 Olympic Games. But for the Western Cape, the event – which attracts about 4 000 people from around the world – won’t be a big loss, said Winde.

“We hate to lose bids, we also lose them all the time, that’s how it works. Sometimes we just have to make judgement calls on how we spend our money.”

He said the organisers of the Loeries were asking for more money to host the event in Cape Town. The city was spending R500 000 for the honour and could not afford to go higher. “I have no idea what Durban is paying them… But at this time we have to work out how to do more with less.”

For example, the city pays R750 000 to host the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and the event is estimated to generate more than R500m for the province.

“There will be lots of other bids and I’m sure we will fill the gap left by the Loeries.”

The organisers said the awards had evolved significantly since their introduction: “Today, they are internationally recognised, and viewed as a benchmark against which regional excellence is measured.”

Awards handed out during the event’s Creative Week are just one half of what make up the Loeries. There are activities held throughout the year, which include a travelling exhibition that displays award-winning work, scholarships, official rankings and the so-called Loeries Archive.

Cape Argus