Luthuli ICC is a real money spinner

Mary Papayya

The Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Complex (ICC), incorporating the Durban Exhibition Centre and the ICC Arena, contributed R565million to the city's economy during the 2006-07 financial year.

This is R45million more than the previous financial year.

Chief executive Miller Matola, who took up office in July last year, said the ICC's contribution to foreign exchange for the period from July last year to June was R267million.

"We hosted eleven international conferences, one international exhibition, 339 national and 21 association events. All in all, business activity for the entire complex sustained 2670 direct and indirect jobs," Matola said.

He said since opening in August 1997, the centre has contributed over R5billion to the region. Matola is confident that this figure can increase to R8billion by 2010.

The ICC celebrates 10 years of service excellence this year. It has won numerous international accolades. It currently features on the International Association of Conference Centres' top 10 best conference centres in the world list.

It has been nominated Africa's leading conference centre, for six consecutive years by The World Travel Awards.

"Our team had to devote an enormous amount of time and energy to set up the new R460million indoor ICC Durban Arena," said Matola.

He explained that the addition of the Arena was a strategic development which would give the complex a competitive edge within the rapidly expanding and highly competitive local and global meetings industry.

The ICC in Durban is now one of the few international conference centres that has a separate indoor arena capable of accommodating audiences of up to 10000 people during entertainment and sporting events.

The Arena also strengthens the city's position as Africa's sporting and events capital.

On November 7, the entire centre will host the Fifa 2010 Preliminary Draw. Media from across the globe will descend on the venue for the event.

"The ICC team and the entire city will pull out all stops to showcase the complex," Matola added.