Putting KZN on the map

2013-03-25 00:00

HOSTING the first South Africa India Film and Television Awards (Saifta) will provide KwaZulu-Natal with a golden opportunity to promote the province as a tourist destination for visitors from the Indian sub-continent.

It will also give the province the chance to market itself as a destination of choice for film-makers, who will be in Durban in September for the inaugural awards ceremony, which aims to honour creative excellence in India and South Africa.

That was the message Sadha Naidoo, chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Board, had for the hundreds of guests who attended the launch of the Saifta at the ICC in Durban last Friday evening.

“I do hope that the executives and celebrities gracing this occasion tonight are already impressed by our truly unique Zulu kingdom hospitality and look forward to further explore the province’s offerings not only as a film and television destination, but also as a holiday destination.

“I hope you are already making plans to bring friends and family with you in September and beyond,” he added.

“In South Africa, film is one of the integral sub-sectors of the country’s creative industry. Apart from playing an important role in communicating important social lessons in an entertaining manner, the film industry is a potential employment catalyst as it generates jobs directly through casting, crewing, production, equipment hire, set design, etc.

“It generates many more jobs indirectly in the support and hospitality industries, stimulating business in hotels, catering companies, restaurants, transport services, etc.

“It is for this reason that the government of KZN views the relationship with the Indian film and television industry as a strategic one as the increased utilisation of our province for foreign film and television productions in general, and Indian productions in particular, will substantially boost the local economy through skills transfer, job creation and increased tourism as a result of an increase in awareness of and travel to, our destination.”

Speaking to The Witness on the red carpet, Thembeka Nxasana, who works for Chanti Travel in Durban North, a travel agency which specialises in government trips to the Indian sub-continent, said she hoped the project would grow the tourism industries of both countries.

“I think the Saifta will really put South Africa on the map,” she said.

And Bollywood fans, Vejan and Jenny Pillay, who own The Square Boutique Hotel and Aqua Spa in Umhlanga, said that while they were thrilled to see some of the industry’s stars, they believed the event would extend and build on the existing partnerships between India and SA.

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