In 2014, Durban, South Africa, saw a 2.5-percent increase in international tourists, and the U.S. was the single largest source of visitors, accounting for 15 percent overall, according to TourismUpdate.
The highest performing foreign markets for Durban after the U.S. are the U.K., Europe, Germany, India and Australia, according to research by Grant Thornton, a U.S.-based global independent audit, tax and advisory firm.
The increase in U.S. tourism is the result of aggressive marketing and successful campaigns in the U.S., said Philip Sithole, head of Durban Tourism, according to TourismUpdate. In 2013 and 2014, Durban Tourism held travel and trade workshops in Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle to educate the U.S. travel trade about Durban as a destination.
It didn’t hurt that Durban was featured in a 2013 National Geographic documentary. You can view it here. The city was recently listed in the New York Times as one of 52 Places To Go In 2015. Another accolade for Durban — being named one of the New7Wonder Cities.
According to Durban International Convention Center, some of the things that landed Durban on the 7Wonder Cities list include the Moses Mabhida Stadium — considered an architectural masterpiece; uShaka Marine World, one of the world’s largest aquariums; the Durban International Convention Centre, a leading conference center in Africa; cultural diversity and a vibrant urban lifestyle. Durban also won the World Travel Award 2014 title as Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination, and it was named South Africa’s coolest city by CNN writer Griffin Shea, DurbanICC reported.
In partnership with the South African Tourism America office, Durban Tourism attended the New York Times Travel Show in January and hosted 40 trade members including tour operators and travel agents for a two-day educational trip to Durban, TourismUpdate reports.
Durban benefited from increased international exposure, Sithole said.
“Gaining presence in these markets has definitely raised awareness of the city offerings,” Sithole said. “We have noticed that the destination is getting more interest.”