Taking Durban to the world


The eThekwini Municipality has launched a comprehensive Economic Development and Visitor Strategy designed to position Durban as the gateway to Africa and as an investment partner of choice. The aim is to attract five million tourists annually to the City and to inject approximately R10-million into the economy, while supporting 74 000 jobs.

A key component of the strategy focuses on growing the brand Durban – leveraging on the city’s infrastructure and showcasing the visitor experience to new markets. “Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy and is central to job creation, youth employment, as well as creating various economic opportunities. Estimated at 30% of KZN GDP, tourism is a major job creator in the province. Hosting major events have a positive impact on the province and increases the potential for Durban as a leading events destination in Africa,” said eThekwini Municipality Mayor, James Nxumalo. 

The Durban Visitors Strategy is aligned to both the national and provincial tourism strategies. Currently 3.8-million tourists visit Durban, generating R5.7-billion for the regional economy supporting 61 000 jobs. This would fall to 3.5-million tourists spending R5.9-billion (at current prices not taking into account inflation) and supporting only 56 000 jobs. By not boosting regional tourism, these figures are predicted to decline below the current levels by 2020. Durban will focus on its core markets in Gauteng, UK, US, Germany, India, and China, while developing potential from new Markets in Namibia, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, France, Singapore and Mozambique. 

“Taking Durban to the world means we need to change how we look at the world and how we do things,” – said Phillip Sithole, eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Business Support, Tourism and Markets Unit.

“We believe it’s important not to rest on the past achievements but to focus on attracting foreign visitors, offering competitive alternatives to other countries like Dubai, India. Australia,” he added. 

  • This Economic Development and Job Creation strategy seeks to provide direction with regard to the strategic economic issues and identify where large-scale investments are required to enhance the economy. It also focuses on the softer issues that improve competitiveness; spatial-economic issues, and to address underdevelopment and neighborhood level local economic development (LED). It was a conscious decision that while the strategy proposes programmes aimed at combating poverty and underdevelopment; it also seeks to put in place programmes aimed at expanding the formal economy to increase the rate of labour absorption. 

 This strategy factors in the global, national and local economic conditions as well as the national and provincial policy environment. It draws extensively on the National Development Plan and the New Growth Path. 

It is also a fundamental departure point for the City as there is greater urgency in addressing the persistent problems that cause unemployment, than ever before. The objective of this Economic Development and Job- Creation Strategy 2013-2018 is to set out a new growth path for the eThekwini Municipal Area (EMA) based on a long-term approach, but within an implementable time-scale of 5 years. The strategy titled Durban@work calls on all sectors of society to work together to build a prosperous City for all its people.

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Issue 68