SOUTH coast business tourism is in for a major facelift as a 1 000-seater conference and exhibition centre is currently being built in the Mbango area just outside Port Shepstone. A 29-year-old accounting graduate from Marburg, Kavier Mohan, did not waste time when he conjured up the idea to build a groundbreaking landmark on the Port Shepstone landscape, and got into the project right away. Now, about six months away from completion, the construction promises to not only to be an eye-grabbing landmark, but also a huge attraction for tourism, particularly business tourism in the area. Kavier, together with his father and business partner Trish Mohan, pitched the venue to South Coast Tourism CEO Phelisa Mangcu on Thursday, who received it with great excitement. Mangcu said ever since moving to the South Coast and assuming the position as CEO of South Coast Tourism in recent months, it has been her main mandate to improve business tourism in the area. She added that the centre would also add to the appeal of Port Shepstone as the commercial hub of the South Coast, and this would be a huge selling point. Trish echoed Mangcu’s sentiments, adding that it was time that the South Coast moved away from selling itself only as a leisure destination, with areas like the blue flag beaches.“It is high time we start attracting tourists by showing them the real South Coast, where people live and work. Port Shepstone is the epitome of that,” said Trish. A first for the South Coast (the largest venues currently in the area only take up to 300 seats), the new venue boasts a 1 000-seater conference hall, which could be turned into a multi-purpose centre likened to venues such as Nasrec Expo Centre and Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg. The conference centre will be stationed amid other exciting upcoming developments as an integrated intermodal facility including a new shopping mall as well as a new state-of-the-art magistrate’s court just a stone’s throw away from the site. The centre is due to be launched in April 2019.“We welcome the development of this multi-purpose conference centre, which realises a vision we have for the KZN South Coast of diversifying the traditional leisure tourism offering. Meetings, conferences and events contribute significantly towards increasing tourist traffic and driving local economic development within destinations,” said Mangcu “Up until now we have had the capacity to host smaller, more intimate conferences and special events for up to 300 delegates, whereas this number will now be boosted to host up to 1 000 delegates in the central business hub of Port Shepstone. This will give us a product of significant size to take to the market,” said Mangcu.