It was announced today at the BRICS Summit, which is currently taking place in Durban, South Africa, that KwaZulu-Natal Province (KZN) will play host to the 21st World Route Development Forum (World Routes) at ICC Durban from September 20-22, 2015.
This marks the first time in its history that the event has been held in Africa. World Routes is the global meeting place for every airline, airport, tourism board, and government stakeholder and attracts attendees from over 110 countries. The event is focused around the development of the world’s air services, and hosting World Routes provides a unique opportunity for a destination to showcase its airport, its city, and its country to the air service decision-makers of the world.
The announcement of Durban, KZN, as the host for World Routes 2015 represents the culmination of a successful bid to host the event driven by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism in which all of the region’s key stakeholders were involved in supporting the proposal. These stakeholders included: Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Trade&Investment KwaZulu-Natal, Airports Company South Africa, King Shaka International Airport, Dube TradePort Corporation, South Africa National Convention Bureau, Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, and South African Airways.
“I’m delighted that World Routes will be taking place in Africa in 2015, and it is fitting, with such a focus on the development of international trade, that we are bringing it to Durban and the region of KwaZulu-Natal,” said David Stroud, Executive Vice President, Routes UBM Live, continuing: “I’d like to thank all the team in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, for all the hard work that’s been done throughout the host bidding process – you’ve done a fantastic job, and I know it’s going to be a great success. Congratulations; we look forward to working with you.”
Commenting on the successful bid, the Provincial Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, Mr. Michael Mabuyakhulu, said: “The announcement by UBM Live to award KwaZulu-Natal the rights to host World Routes 2015 in Durban is a significant achievement for our country in particular and Africa in general, given the fact that this event will be hosted on the continent for the very first time.”
“World Routes 2015 will position our flagship development, southern Africa’s premier air logistics platform, and the home of the continent’s first purpose-built aerotropolis, the Dube Trade Port, which incorporates the King Shaka International Airport for a major growth in air services. At the official opening of Dube Trade Port last year, our President, His Excellency President Jacob Zuma, challenged us to grow King Shaka International Airport into becoming an alternative aviation hub. Bringing World Routes 2015 to KwaZulu-Natal is our response to this challenge, amongst our other strategic initiatives. The KwaZulu-Natal province has participated in past World Routes events, and based on our analysis we have seen how air services have improved in airports that have hosted these events. It is, therefore, our plan to leverage on the hosting of World Routes 2015 to help grow air lift out of King Shaka International Airport, the host airport for this event,” he said.
KwaZulu-Natal Province is the country’s most popular domestic leisure tourism destination and is home to Africa’s busiest sea-ports: Durban – the busiest in Africa, and Richards Bay – the deepest in Africa. The city of Durban is a vibrant city 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 multi-billion Rand international airport which opened in May 2010 ahead of the FIFA World Cup Championships. The Airport, along with its adjacent trade port “Dube TradePort” provides world-class facilities for intercontinental passenger travel and freight transfer.
The city of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal Province have embarked upon a development strategy to grow the regional tourism economy and to increase the number of international tourists to KZN by 2030. The plan is to grow passenger and cargo airlift out of King Shaka International Airport and hosting World Routes 2015 will assist in improving the air services potential of the airport, coupled with the trade gateway operations of the two sea ports. In addition, bringing the event to the growing aviation market of Africa, which also has significant potential, will be of huge benefit to the region.