16 September 2013

East Coast Radio, Tourism KZN and Dube TradePort Corporation have joined forces to drive inbound African tourism to KwaZulu-Natal. As Africa becomes a key trade asset and as trade on the continent increases, so disposable income and the desire for travel by local businesses and communities increase.

East Coast Radio’s General Manager, Trish Taylor, says, “This project is designed to form close alliances with radio stations on our continent and build a community of broadcasters that will come together annually in Durban. The broadcast project is aimed at attracting continental and SA visitors to KZN, in a highly endorsed manner.”

Connecting Africa is both a learning exchange programme and tourism showcase initiative that started last year, following the launch a direct flight route by SA Express from to Lusaka in Zambia to Durban. Since then, a Harare link has also been introduced. Saxen van Coller, Dube TradePort Corporation's Chief Executive Officer, says, "We are working to significantly increase direct regional and international air services to and from Durban in an effort to transform this region into South Africa’s primary alternative gateway. We have developed a five-year strategy designed to identify and attract a growing number of carriers to utilise Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.”

Of the direct routes between Harare, Lusaka and Durban, the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu says, "Our intention is to foster warm relations amongst key role-players and drivers of, particularly, trade and tourism in the market-places of South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”

As part of the role East Coast Radio is playing in swelling continental tourism, the station will host the drive time on-air teams from Star FM, a radio station from Harare in Zimbabwe and from Phoenix FM, a station based in Lusaka, Zambia. Both stations will broadcast live from Suncoast Casino in Durban. At the same time, Jacaranda FM, Kagiso Media’s Johannesburg based station, will also be broadcasting from Durban to drive domestic tourism.