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Durban is a world-class city

Durban is a world-class city – this has been confirmed by a series of accolades awarded in recent months. The latest saw the city being announced as one of the world's New7Wonders Cities on Sunday evening.

But these acknowledgments did not mean the city should rest on its laurels, it should serve as further motivation to maintain the standards set, said Durban Tourism head Phillip Sithole.

Durban was announced along with Beirut (Lebanon), Doha (Qatar), Havana (Cuba), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), La Paz (Bolivia) and Vigan (Philippines) as the New7Wonder Cities at an event in Dubai after a series of elimination and voting rounds.

Bernard Weber, founder-president of the New7Wonders programme, said the cities represented “the global diversity of urban society”.

He said: “For the first time in human history, more than half of our planet’s population lives in cities and this election emphasises the dramatically challenging character of our changing world.”

Two awards

The campaign started in 2011 and began with 1 200 nominees from 220 countries. A panel of experts whittled down the number to 28 candidates in October 2013, from which the seven were voted for.

In May and September last year, Durban received two awards from CNN in its “world’s coolest cities” and “world’s most underrated cities” Top 10 survey. The city’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre was voted “Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conferencing Centre” at the World Travel Awards in September.

Sithole said that although he was excited about the awards, it did not mean that the city should “forget about the basics”.

The award, he said, had come at the right time, as the festive season rapidly approached and was a “true reflection” that the city was fast becoming a global destination.

He said: “Durban Tourism has been promoting the voting process since February last year, during the various elimination rounds, and we would like to thank all the voters who had the confidence to vote for Durban.”

He said a wonder city was aimed largely at rapid urbanisation, diversity, innovation in responding to development and the aspirations of a global urban civilisation.

Mayor James Nxumalo said the achievement showed the commitment and competitive edge of the city as a leading tourism, events and business destination.

Durban Chamber of Commerce chief executive Andrew Layman hailed it as “wonderful news for Durban”.

“I’m sure the city must have had voting support from people all over the world who had visited and enjoyed the city.

The enhancement of the international image of Durban is a Durban Tourism strategy which the chamber supports 100 percent,” Layman said.

Jean-Paul de la Fuente, the director of New7Wonders, welcomed Durban, saying: “As the sole representative from Africa, Durban now joins a unique group of cities from across the globe. Congratulations and well done to all the supporters and fans of Durban worldwide.”

The Moses Mabhida Stadium, uShaka Marine World, Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, the city’s warm hospitality, the rich cultural diversity and the vibrant urban lifestyle were some of the factors.

Source: iol.co.za/travel






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