Olympics boost for Durban

2011-03-26 00:00

PLANS are well in hand to prepare a bid for Durban to be the host city for the 2020 or 2024 Summer Olympics, KZN MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu said in his budget speech yesterday.

He said the catalyst for the bid preparation is the overwhelming success of operations at the Dube Trade Port (DTP) and King Shaka International Airport, which falls under the DTP. Opposition parties in the legislature voiced their approval of the approach.

Mabuyakhulu said that more than four million passengers have passed through King Shaka International Airport since it opened last year and passenger growth is expected to rise by 7,5% this year.

In addition, negotiations are under way to attract more international carriers from Europe, India South-east Asia, the Middle East and the rest of Africa.

Emirates Airlines will be introducing a double daily service in October. Air Mauritius has also increased its flights to two per week.

Mabuyakhulu said he is confident that in the course of the year a second Middle Eastern carrier will provide a daily service to King Shaka. According to reports, this could be Qatar Airways, which has opened an office in Durban.

The MEC said the Dube cargo terminal handled more than 6 300 tons of cargo up to the end of February.

The trade zone’s warehouse facility is also fully operational and for the time houses the local airfreight logistics industry under one roof.

An overhead conveyor system, one of the few such facilities globally, will be commisioned next month. Other features to be introduced are a 20-foot container handling facility and a valuable cargo facility.

Another factor giving impetus to the Olympic bid, said Mabuyakhulu, is that South Africa has seen a 15,1% increase in tourist arrivals. This was well above the global norm of 6,7% and amounts to an additional 1,1 million people coming into the country.

“The Fifa World Cup accounts for about four percent of the increase, thereby demonstrating that even without the World Cup, the counry’s growth rate exceeded that of global trends,” he said.

Mabuyakhulu remarked that national Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has praised KZN tourism efforts. Van Schalkwyk said at the launch of the national tourism strategy that there isn’t another province marketing itself as aggressively as KwaZulu-Natal.

 

 

4 million number of passengers who have passed through King Shaka airport.

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