10 July 2014 –
Durban, July 10, 2014: Marine Tourism took a leap forward in Durban this week with the hosting of the Durban July Extravaganza supported by the South African Maritime Safety Authority and other key stakeholders.
As the beach festival kicks into gear on Durban’s North beach this week showcasing various codes of marine leisure sports, SAMSA encouraged port cities to integrate its communities into various forms of maritime activities including maritime sport.
On the Durban beach this week, coordinated by Durban Stars, tourists, locals and visitors can feast on a variety of water sports including surfing and jet ski competitions, development clinic programs, beach volleyball and soccer.
The surfing and Jet Ski competitions are in line with SAMSA’s long-term strategy of developing marine tourism and leisure investment for port cities as it remains a key contributor to local economies.
Marine tourism and leisure, is one of the maritime sub-sectors currently receiving priority at the South African Maritime Safety Authority. The authority supported Durban Stars last year when the festival was introduced for the first time and received resounding success.
SAMSA CEO Tsietsi Mokhele said South Africa was a competitive player in the global market and its extensive natural resources and wealth of heritage could be exploited to its maximum capacity.
“Water programmes sell. They sell real estate, they sell activities, they sell everything,” he said. The media are invited to attend the activities on the beach and also to have a personal engagement with Mokhele on Saturday, July 12, 2014, at 11am in the VIP tent. Mokhele will be present for interviews and activations during the surfing coaching clinics in the weekend.
SAMSA is in the process of developing a Maritime Tourism Strategy which will be unveiled later this year.
Mokhele added South Africa’s marine tourism remain unexploited with potential for investments in cruise tourism, coastal and Inland waterways tourism, real estate development and leisure, water based sports and recreation.
The move behind supporting Durban’s July extravaganza provided impetus to make access and integration seamless into maritime sport, more importantly for previously disadvantaged individuals/communities.
Earlier this year as part of its development agenda SAMSA supported communities in Inanda in canoe programs where some participants took part in the Dusi Marathon and completed successfully.
Mokhele said events like these are globally touted as the principal way countries/destinations can periodically re-invent themselves to offer enhanced visitor experience whilst simultaneously making a phenomenal economic impact.
Phindani Nene, CEO of Durban Stars said the efforts towards maritime tourism had already witnessed more interest from schools in maritime studies.
“The efforts in these initiatives is make Durban and KwaZulu-Natal a destination of choice from providing fun at the Vodacom Durban July horseracing event, to providing famous artists on the beachfront.”
The new surfing extravaganza is on par with the internationally accredited, Gunston 500. At the height of its success the Gunston 500 resulted attracted 1million visitors over a four day period, something this event also aims to achieve. That event was recognised as one of the biggest and longest running professional surfing extravaganzas in the world drawing the most prominent names in surfing to the city for over 4 decades. However, in 2009 Durban relinquished its rights to host the Gunston 500 and without an international surfing competition the city lost one of its key tourism draw cards. Nene said the event will become a must see for sporting and tourism calendar.
“The eThekwini Municipality is poised to bring more sports events to the city. We not only want to bring more visitors to the city but want to encourage healthy lifestyles. Some of the participants in the event last year were street children whose lives had changed.”
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