Garden Route’s Destiny unveiled
WESTERN Cape Premier Helen Zille recently unveiled plans for one of Africa’s single-biggest private development projects at a ceremony in George to kickstart the transformation of the Garden Route into a global business and eco-tourism destination.
The R28 billion Destiny Africa Ecosphere project will integrate world-class conferencing, a knowledge city, a business park, a university cluster, medical and biosphere tourism and eco-residential and housing developments.
In all, 2.5 million square metres of bulk rights have been approved for a project that could take 17 years to conclude, ensuring substantial post-2010 developmental activity for the Western Cape. Bulk rights on this scale and synergistic integration of business learning, research, conferencing and business incubation creates a “smart city” on lines pioneered in high-growth economies such as Singapore and China.
Zoning approval was granted in May for the 437ha site on the Garden Route near George.
Zille was on hand to unveil the development model, as smart city thinking and the ecosphere concept align closely with the province’s strate g y of promoting g rowth t h r o u g h “ k n o w l e d g e e c o n o my industries”.
Leveraging job creation and foreign exchange earnings through international conferencing, tourism and SME development also finds a close fit with national policy.
The driving force behind Destiny Africa is Destiny Africa Investments Holdings. Executive director Thys
Conceived as Africa’s leading Mice venue, it also creates a platform to promote area’s
Pretorius says the initiative has h u g e p o t e n t i a l , a n d eve n c o n - servative projections envisage the creation of an estimated 50 000 direct and indirect jobs over 10 years.
“A major driver and lead element in the overall vision is the meetings, incentives, conferences and expos (Mice) component. Business t o u r i s m u n d e r p i n n e d by maj o r international conferences is a global growth industry, yet potential goes largely untapped in South Africa.
“Destiny Africa – conceived as Africa’s leading Mice venue – fills the gap. It also creates a platform to promote the Garden Route as the world’s premier eco-tourism destination. The Garden Route packs the most eco-diversity into the smallest land area on the planet. Again, the potential goes untapped… but not for long,” says Pretorius.
Destiny Africa could be crucial to South Africa’s long-term strategy to become globally competitive and globally attractive as an investment destination and magnet for international skills, says Pretorius.
“Inter national experience has proved that job creation and the growth of national economies can be triggered by using an ecosphere catalyst at the right location. Successes include California’s Silicon Valley, Cornwall in the UK, Singapore, Shanghai, Hyderabad in India, Cancun in Mexico and Cairns in Australia.
“At the moment, South Africa is losing skilled people. To reverse the trend, we need a receptive environment integrating lear ning, business, lifestyle and eco-components – a smart city designed to attract smart people and smart business. That’s the Destiny Africa proposition, and it’s great to see it taking off.”
PURE POTENTIAL: An aerial view of the R28 billion Destiny Africa Ecosphere project in George on the Garden Route.