Billions in new hotel investments and plans for an American-style street car (tram) transport system could be on the cards for Durban.
A delegation of city officials, including Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo, last week confirmed the release of a series of new hotel sites throughout Durban in preparation for the 2010 World Cup, including a R350-million development near the existing Elangeni Hotel.
Details of the city's major hotel plans came as local officials hosted a high-powered business delegation from the American city of New Orleans, which is one of Durban's official sister cities.
Durban is hoping to learn valuable tourism lessons from New Orleans, which is one of America's top cultural, music and historical tourism destinations.
Naidoo has, meanwhile promised a totally revamped city for 2010, which will include a tram system linking the beachfront to the King Senzagakhona Stadium, hotels and the ICC.
The newly introduced people mover buses will give way to the tram.
The municipality has also unlocked 10 prime hotel sites, and is currently in discussions with large international hotel conglomerates to have them developed before 2010.
Among the sites is Hoy Park, which is currently under construction, and the former Natal Command base, which will also serve as a film studio.
Hotels at the Point waterfront will also be linked to hotel sites at Sunkist Beach, the military museum area and ICC.
"We are seeing good things happening in the city and it's our plan to have as many hotels ready by 2010 as possible. This is all part of a broader vision to rejuvenate the city and create a new energy in the economy.
"It's not only about one soccer semi-final, but about maximising the use of the World Cup and these facilities for the future," Naidoo said.
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