As a record-breaking World Routes event in Chicago draws to a close, the Chicago Department of Aviation and Choose Chicago have officially handed the event over to the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The 21st World Route Development Forum will take place in the KwaZulu-Natal’s coastal City of Durban, South Africa at its majestic Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 19 – 22 September 2015 – marking the first time in history that the event has been hosted on the African continent.
“Hosting World Routes 2015 in Durban will be an incredible opportunity and experience for the Province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa,” said Provincial Minister of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu who further explained that, “We are the most popular tourism destination for all South Africans and more international visitors are now sampling our attractions every year. Meanwhile, Durban is South Africa’s premier port handling more than 80 million tons of cargo per year. In addition the region is recognised as the country’s biggest manufacturing hub. We are also witnessing growth in the number of international investors such as Samsung who are establishing their factories in the city, thus capitalising on its strategic location for global trade. This positive trend is carried through in the improvement of our air transport logistics, particularly at Dube TradePort to ensure convenient cargo movement. We believe that hosting World Routes 2015 will further assist the province in securing more direct air linkages with the rest of the world, which is essential for accelerating the region’s radical economic growth, especially in the tourism sector.”
First time in Africa
Many of the region’s key stakeholders have joined forces in support of World Route Durban 2015 and these include the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs; Tourism KwaZulu-Natal; Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal; Airports Company of South Africa; King Shaka International Airport; Dube TradePort; Durban & KZN Convention Bureau and as well as eThekwini Municipality.
Katie Bland, Director Routes for UBM Live commented: “We are very excited to be taking World Routes to Durban in 2015, the first time in Africa – a new frontier for growth. The air service development community will have the opportunity to experience the market, including King Shaka International Airport and Dube TradePort as well as the many cultural and tourist attractions the City of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal province have to offer.”
The Province of KwaZulu-Natal is the country’s most popular domestic leisure tourism destination and is home to Africa’s busiest sea-ports such as Durban which is the busiest in Africa and Richards Bay, the deepest on the continent. Durban is a vibrant metropolis overflowing with cultural diversity and is the second largest in South Africa with a population of around 4 million.
King Shaka International Airport is a brand new multi-billion rand international airport which opened for business in May 2010, just ahead of the FIFA World Cup tournament. The airport, along with its adjacent industrial development zone, the Dube TradePort, provides world-class multimodal transport and trade logistics that is enhancing the country’s intercontinental passenger travel and freight transfer.
In acknowledging the benefits of a globalizing economy, Durban and KwaZulu-Natal Province have embarked upon a developmental strategy to grow the regional economy and to increase the number of international tourists to the province by 2030. The plan is to grow passenger and cargo airlift out of King Shaka International Airport to connect with key regional and global trade and tourism destinations. The hosting of World Routes 2015 will further assist in improving the airport’s profile that is complemented by the trade gateway operations offered by the two sea ports in Durban and Richards Bay respectively. In addition, bringing the event to the growing aviation market of Africa, which also has significant potential, will be of huge benefit to the entire region.
Routes, founded in 1995 is a world-renowned organizer of airline and airport networking events through its regional and global Route Development Forums. Each year, there is one global event and one regional event in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and CIS respectively.