Dur­ban aims to ex­ploit tourism and events

Business Day - - NATIONAL - Chris Makhaye and Nce Mkhize

Dur­ban has un­veiled a doc­u­ment, called Vi­sion 2040, in which the city out­lines its plans to un­lock its eco­nomic po­ten­tial“by us­ing its unique po­si­tion ” as a lead­ing trans­port hub and a top tourist des­ti­na­tion.

The doc­u­ment, com­piled by the city plan­ning com­mis­sion, was un­veiled last week dur­ing the Shape Dur­ban con­fer­ence.

The doc­u­ment states that the city should start think­ing glob­ally; in­vest in, and ben­e­fit from, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy; take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties cre­ated by the fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion; and build on its eth­nic and cul­tural di­ver­sity.

Vi­sion 2040 takes its cue from the Trea­sury, which is of­fer­ing SA cities fi­nan­cial and other tech­ni­cal sup­port to un­lock the eco­nomic po­ten­tial of ur­ban ar­eas by in­vest­ing in in­fra­struc­ture, form­ing part­ner­ships with the pri­vate sec­tor and stream­lin­ing bu­reau­cracy.

Deputy fi­nance min­is­ter Mondli Gun­gubele told the Shape Dur­ban con­fer­ence, which fo­cused on eco­nomic devel­op­ment, that the Trea­sury is fully be­hind the eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s vi­sion.

City plan­ning com­mis­sion chair Ivan Turok, who is also with the Hu­man Sciences Re­search Coun­cil, said the doc­u­ment sought to build bridges across so­cial and eco­nomic di­vides by pro­mot­ing a holis­tic vi­sion and con­certed ac­tion for the city.

“It is vi­tal that peo­ple work to­gether on a com­mon agenda to move the city for­ward and nar­row the gap be­tween af­flu­ent and de­prived com­mu­ni­ties.”

The Vi­sion 2040 re­port, how­ever, says av­er­age in­comes in the city are more than 30% lower than in the other big met­ros, so wage earn­ers have even greater dif­fi­culty meet­ing the needs of their fam­i­lies and rel­a­tives, who of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence hunger and de­pri­va­tion.

“Low in­comes un­der­mine peo­ple’s qual­ity of life, re­strict their abil­ity to pay for pub­lic ser­vices and hold back the growth of a con­sumer econ­omy.”

On the pos­i­tive side, the doc­u­ment states that Dur­ban is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for do­mes­tic and busi­ness tourism.

“There is fur­ther po­ten­tial as an ‘event city’ with all its sport­ing and leisure fa­cil­i­ties and seafront ameni­ties,” it says.

Dur­ban Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try CEO Palesa Phili said the doc­u­ment is a good start­ing point and mem­bers of the cham­ber are work­ing with the city plan­ning com­mis­sion to stream­line and im­prove fu­ture plans for the city.

Ethek­wini mayor Zandile Gumede com­mended the work that has been achieved by the com­mis­sion thus far.

“As city of­fi­cials, we are com­mit­ted to help solve the prob­lems iden­ti­fied by this doc­u­ment,” she said.

/Te­bogo Let­sie

Game on: Dur­ban wants to take ad­van­tage of its sport­ing and events in­fra­struc­ture to at­tract more vis­i­tors to the sea­side city.

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