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ICC performance and investment

Posted On Tuesday, 04 September 2001 03:01 Published by
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Plans to double capacity of International Convention Centre PLANS are on track to double the capacity of Durban's ICC to make the facility the largest international conference venue in SA.

Plans to double capacity of International Convention Centre PLANS are on track to double the capacity of Durban's International Convention Centre (ICC) to make the facility the largest international conference venue in SA.
The unicity council has approved, in principle, the expansion of the building by another 11500m² in a R250m project to cement its position in the upper echelon of conference destinations.
The ICC scooped the award for being Africa's leading conference centre at the 2001 World Travel Awards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, earlier this year. Winners were voted for by 25000 travel agents from 182 countries.
The upgraded facility will house a 4500-seat auditorium with eight interconnecting meeting rooms. However, this can open into 13000m² of pillarless space, accommodating 13000 people in a single venue.
It means the World Conference Against Racism being held in the ICC and the International AIDS conference staged last year, could have been held in a single venue rather than at a number of venues.
Durban has played host to the Non-Aligned Movement summit, the Commonwealth heads of government meeting and two World Economic Forum Southern African summits at the ICC. Every year it stages the Southern African Tourism Indaba, the premier event on the tourism industry's calendar.
Peter Brokenshire, ICC CEO, says since the south side foundations are already in place, construction will only take nine months.
Nelson Mandela officially opened the ICC in August 1997 and the centre has exceeded all expectations. Brokenshire says initial predictions were to host 10 international conferences a year, but this had grown to 18 last year and 19 in 2001.
"The staging of such high-calibre events so soon after the opening focused world attention on Durban and the ICC and provided the invaluable experience required to compete favourably in the international conventions arena."
The ICC has staged 1500 events and hosted more than 750000 people, generating R2bn in income for KwaZulu-Natal.
It hosts one major international event a year, but the expansion will facilitate the staging of an additional eight to 10 major events annually.
Brokenshire says the expansion moves the ICC to another level from which Durban can regularly stage events with between 4000 and 6000 delegates. The average conference size is 1500, but this will nearly double.
He says the expansion will broaden the ICC into a multipurpose venue that can host a growing number of community events, like matric dances, wedding receptions and music concerts.
A vital spin-off is the 2500 people already trained through the centre for hospitality-based careers. Many of them were either unemployed or without service-industry experience.
"The ICC is a principal training ground for Durban's hospitality industry and its graduates are accepted by hotels, guest lodges and restaurants," Brokenshire says.
A member of the International Congress and Convention Association and the SA Association for the Conference Industry, the ICC has received several national and international excellence awards, ranging from architectural to engineering, environmental, energy efficiency, hygiene and marketing.


Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day
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