With the R9, 1million Durban beachfront upgrade project nearing completion, the city’s jewel and main tourist attraction will set the stage in March for the inaugural and free to the public, Durban Land, Sea and Air Festival. Taking place from the 20th to the 23rd March, the spectacle is expected to draw thousands of spectators from KwaZulu-Natal and countrywide to marvel at a variety of exciting land, sea and air displays.
The festival will feature the exhilarating Sky Grand Prix of Aerobatics where top national and international aerobatic pilots will perform electrifying maneuvers through pylons placed on the beachfront piers. This is the first time an event of this kind will take place in South Africa and in an area that is not an airport. Festival Organizer, Brian Emmenis, of Capital Sounds, said, “Out of the five international pilots competing, three are the best aerobatic pilots in the world. As it is a FIA recognised event, the Sky Grand Prix of Aerobatics is internationally recognised as one of a handful of aerobatics events of this scale.”
Displays by the SA Navy and enforcement services, air-themed movies and live music will also have the crowds riveted. Emmenis said, “These displays will be a source of national pride showing the country what South Africa’s national forces have to offer.”
Events of this kind offer great exposure for the host city primarily through local, national and international media exposure and the good visitor and participant experience. The city image is improved and profile raised in the world’s eyes when hosting successful major events. Senior manager at eThekwini’s event office, Vivienne Holden, says, “Besides the direct economic benefits created through hosting major events such as the influx of visitors, job creation, local business opportunities, and growth and development legacy programmes, the event is used as a tourism marketing platform to encourage visitors to explore and experience other attractions in the region, not only within the city’s immediate surrounds, but those just a few hours away.”
Durban Chamber of Commerce CEO, Andrew Layman, said, “This initiative has the potential to add significantly to Durban’s events programme and will draw local supporters as well as visitors from outside the province. We are keen supporters of the concept of Durban as an events city where the great beaches and other attractions are complemented by exciting and accessible events.” Layman added that events like these are also important as a catalyst to bring local residents together to enjoy a spirit of fellowship and pride.
Durban has hosted a number of global events recently including the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) and the ever popular Top Gear Festival. Head of Durban Tourism, Phillip Sithole, says, “The City of Durban is proud to host the Durban Land Sea & Air Festival. We have the best climate, a spectacular Beach Promenade and infrastructure to make this first time ever to be seen event in South Africa, a resounding success. The staging of the Sky Grand Prix of Aerobatics certainly highlights our growing track record of international events that have been successfully held by the city and new events of this nature play an important role in positioning Durban as an international events and tourism hub. We look forward to three days of exhilarating action and visual displays over our Indian Ocean and we warmly welcome all the participants to our shores.”
The Durban Land, Sea and Air Festival is free to the public. For further information please visit http://www.landseaairfestival.co.za/