National 28.7.2016 01:06 pm

Terror attacks abroad deal economic blow to KZN

The signature 13th hole at Prince's Grant offers spectacular views that would make European golf tourists salivate. Photo: North Coast Courier

The signature 13th hole at Prince's Grant offers spectacular views that would make European golf tourists salivate. Photo: North Coast Courier

A major golf initiative has been postponed by a year, as European tour agents felt it was not safe to send tourists to Durban via Istanbul.

Recent terror events in Turkey, including the bombings at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and the attempted military coup d’etat on July 15, dealt the Ilembe district, north of Durban, a major economic blow, reports the North Coast Courier.

The World Golf Tourism Classic that was meant to launch international golf tourism in the Ilembe district has been postponed by almost a year because European tour agents felt it was not safe to send tourists to Durban via Istanbul.

There were 10 international golf teams from various European countries that were meant to come to the area on Turkish Airlines (official airline partner) in December to participate in a series of golf days that would showcase Ilembe district’s four tourist-ready golf courses including Prince’s Grant, Zimbali, Umhlali, Simbithi and the iconic Durban Country Club as an additional drawing card.

As a result of recent unrest in Turkey, the tournament has been rescheduled for October 2017, delaying the accompanying job creation, skills development and economic growth for the area.

The event was meant to give KZN, and especially the Ilembe district, access to Europe’s top golf tour operators and their golfing client bases.

CEO of the Ilembe Chamber, Cobus Oelofse, said: “We think we are a little district at the bottom of the African continent unaffected by what happens in the rest of the world, but this shows us how vulnerable we are. The Ilembe Chamber has reconfirmed its commitment to be associated with this international event and will continue to work with public and private sector partners to ensure that the event materialises.”

The World Golf Tourism Classic is presented by Ascot Tours and KZN Golf with confirmed partners being the Ilembe Chamber, KZN Tourism, Turkish Airlines, Fairmont Zimbali Hotel and Louis Oosthuizen‘s Major Golf Wines.

The tournament is expected to be covered by Supersport on the Supergolf programme.

Caxton News Service

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