Successful year for KZN Conventions

The Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau (DBN KZN CB) has facilitated the hosting of 15 events in the Province between January to November 2014. This is a vast improvement against the average of 10 events per annum hosted in the Province prior to the formation of the DBN KZN CB on 01 July 2010, writes Des Langkilde.

Over the past year, the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau helped, in collaboration with a range of other stakeholders, to secure the following 15 events for 2014: Indaba 2014; Top Gear 2014; SETE (Sport and Event Tourism Exchange) 2014; Retrovaille 2014; World Youth Chess Championships 2014; World Medical Congress 2014; Association of International Marathons 2014; Sharks International 2014; Port Cities Congress 2014; SAACI Congress 2014; EXSA Congress 2014; Board of Health Care Funders 2014; Beta Bond Corporate (Diverso) Meeting 2014; African Ports Evolution 2014 and Phase 1 of the KZN Industrial Hubs Investment Summit.

The cumulative impact of these events was in the order of R0.5bn.

Business Tourism is defined as the tourism flow that is generated as a result of meetings, incentive trips, conferences and exhibitions. Globally this sector generates in excess of 36 million trips and R606 billion in revenue. Durban and KwaZulu-Natal generates around R2 billion as a direct result of business tourism.

Durban has dramatically improved its International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) ranking and was placed second in Africa, as a business tourism and business events destination in 2013. In 2012, the city was ranked in 157th place, and 173rd in 2011.

“What is remarkable about Durban’s 2013 ICCA ranking is the fact that the City managed to outperform Nairobi in terms of these statistics,” says Phillip Sithole, Head of Durban Tourism.

“Nairobi is traditionally the second best performing business event destination in terms of ICCA events in Africa, and for us to secure this spot is most rewarding. We know that these types of meetings bring huge financial benefit for the City, and provide an opportunity to showcase all our city has to offer travellers – both business and leisure,” Sithole concludes.
So what do convention bureaus do?

According to the ICCA definition “Convention Bureaus promote the business tourism potential of a destination… their main purpose is to increase the number of events, conferences and meetings held in the destination; whether a city, a region or a country.”

The role of the DBN KZN CB is therefore to identify business tourism opportunities, to assist associations, meeting planners and venues with bidding support, to provide marketing support for specific meetings and to provide product development, accreditation, impact assessment and coordination.

Together with the private sector, DBN KZN CB provides support with promotional materials, educational trips and site inspections, supplier information and quotations, social programmes, pre and post tours and incentive packages, assistance with congress bids, destination display and promotion, information kits and welcome packs for delegates, shuttle services and PCO services.

The Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau is a partnership initiative of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, and Ethekwini Municipality to promote the meeting or business tourism services of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the metropolitan area of Durban, and operates as a special division of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal.

“The word Zulu literally means ‘people of heaven’ and this is a word that is known throughout the world. We use this word to make potential tourists aware of the many heavenly attractions of our province and why Durban and KwaZulu-Natal is an ideal meeting venue for conventions, smaller meetings and incentive offerings.

“We can use these offerings to provide the overarching distinctive experience which so many conference delegates are now seeking, particularly through pre and post tours to KwaZulu-Natal 8 tourism regions namely the Battlefields; Drakensberg; Durban; Elephant Coast;Pietermaritzburg and Midlands; North Coast; South Coast and Zululand. These experiences are also ideal fro the crafting of unique incentive tour offerings,” says the CEO of DBN KZN CB, James Seymour.

For more information contact the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau on +27 31 366 7580 or email [email protected] or visit

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