Financial investments planned over the next few years to rejuvenate Durban, KwaZulu Natal, will see the city receive a significant facelift as part of an urban renewal programme, while millions will be invested in extending the promenade and developing the northern coast.

The eThekwini urban renewal programme has started and work will happen in three stages. “The first stage is dealing with derelict buildings in the city. The second stage is dealing with cleanliness and safety in the city, July 1 is the start of the clean-up stage. The third stage, is the relocation of street hawkers, to make space for pedestrians,” Philip Sithole, Head of Durban Tourism, announced at the recent Indaba show.

Sithole also touched on major developments that will take place in the city, such as the 2-3 km extension of the beachfront promenade, the investment is estimated to be about R200 million (€13.8m).

The north of Durban, particularly the Umhlanga precinct will see the introduction of new international hospitality brands, including Radisson. The planned Kings Estate project is a development project that would see 621 hectares of land being transformed into an integrated township. This is a private sector investment, estimated to cost R46 billion (€3.2bn). “If you come to Durban in three years, the north of Durban will be different,” said Sithole.

Speaking on the side-lines of the show, Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism  and Environmental Affairs, said the return on investment received into Durban after the Africa’s Travel Indaba can be estimated to about R50 million (€ 3.4m). “Retaining Indaba will help Durban tourism to plan for the long term,” said Zikalala. He added that his office wanted to be given a longer term, as this would assist with infrastructure planning and strategic interventions.

In the last year, an increased interest in tourism by the government has seen the elevation of tourism in the national discourse, leading to the tourism sector becoming a priority, Zikalala said.