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