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Sodurba raises hopes for Unity Bridge linking Bluff to city

THE South Durban community tourism organisation (CTO), Sodurba is working towards creating new business opportunities, while developing tourism and increased awareness in the area.

04 March 2013 | Erin Hanekom

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CTOs are a new development in the KZN tourism industry. Various CTOs have been formed throughout the province, which report to their respective municipalities and the KZN departments. “Their purpose is to stimulate growth in the tourism industry and co-ordinate all tourism activities at grass roots level, to make tourism vibrant, dynamic, profitable and sustainable,” said Harry Etheridge, Sodurba chairman.

South Durban’s Sodurba serves the Bluff, Merebank, Wentworth, Isipingo, Mobeni, Jacobs, Prospecton, Woodlands, Montclair, Lamontville, Yellowwood Park, Clairwood, the harbour, Wilson’s Wharf, Havenside, Seaview, Umbilo, Bellair, Glenmore, Rossburgh and Manor Gardens.

Some of the projects scheduled for development are the Ndaba Nkulu Cultural and Heritage Hub, the Mary Stainbank Memorial Art Gallery, the renovation and restoration of Coedmore Castle, Wilderness Leadership School, Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, the Sodurba tourism awareness programme, the ‘Know Your City’ tourism campaign, the Tourism Indaba 2013 exhibition and other local and international trade exhibitions.

“Linking local businesses with exciting new tourism developments is another important function of Sodurba,” said Harry. An example of this is the development of the Ndaba Nkulu Cultural and Heritage hub in Yellowwood Park. “We see the development as an opportunity to stimulate growth in the local economy and create a theme for development of many supporting tourism businesses that could become part of the hub to ensure the sustainability of the whole development.”

Another exciting project currently being discussed by Sodurba and provincial CTO members is a Unity Bridge, which will span the harbour, linking the Bluff to Durban’s city centre. Harry hopes the bridge, which has been a topic of conversation since the 60s, will become a reality.

“We are going to try everything in our power to make it happen. I think the provincial officials are mindful that Durban is the gateway to KZN and they need to make tourism work in Durban, to affect the rest of the province.”

According to Harry, Durban is in desperate need of an iconic tourism structure, which will identify it throughout the world. “Everyone thought that would be the Moses Mabhida Stadium, but that hasn’t materialised as an icon. With this bridge, property values on the Bluff and in South Durban as a whole will increase dramatically and the link to prime real estate in the point area, along with better access to the CBD will only create better tourism opportunities.”

The Unity Bridge will not only serve as a tourism icon, but it should provide a more scenic access to the Bluff, which has long-suffered with poor access through industrial zones.

With more than 250 tourism businesses identified in the area, offering products and services from accommodation to adventure tours and transport, Sodurba plans to register all tourism and related products and services offered with the aim of improving the quality of and exposing them to local, national and international markets.

A meeting will be held on Thursday, 7 March at 11am at the Wilderness Leadership school in Stainbank Nature Reserve in Yellowwood Park, for parties interested in tourism development in South Durban, including business people and investors.
All entrepreneurs, investors or business owners in the Sodurba area, should register with Sodurba Tourism on the website and attend the meeting.

To register, or for information on Sodurba and its various planned developments, visit www.sodurba.com.

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