Exciting potential for film tourism on the South Coast

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In its endeavours to minimalise seasonality surges and see consistent and increased foot traffic and spend to the paradise of the Zulu Kingdom, Ugu South Coast Tourism recently invited the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission’s (KZNFC) CEO Carol Coetzee for a sightseeing tour and a brainstorming session.

The mandate of the newly formed KZN Film Commission, a public entity based in Durban, is to source and secure film and television productions both nationally and internationally as a way to increase economic development in the province.

This includes commercials, documentaries, stills, television series and feature films as well as any form of audio visual content that the world is consuming to be filmed in the diverse offerings of KZN. No small undertaking when the long established Cape and Gauteng Film Commissions have a strong foothold in the minds of filmmakers worldwide.

Says Ms Coetzee: “This is one of the most exciting challenges I have taken up to date. Having worked as HOD for the KZN Department of Economic Development for over five years where we were working on budgets of close to R1.4bn and managing over nine public entities which included, amongst others, the Dube Trade Port, I feel that we are ready to take on this challenge. We understand what it takes to attract investment into a destination and the film sector is an untapped gem.

“After extensive research, our strategy is geared to meet global demands. We have recently returned from Hong Kong where along with Wesgro, our Cape Town counterparts, were the only representatives from Africa.

“We will be attending Cannes in the next few weeks and have also secured visits from leading Hollywood stars. We believe this is an excellent beginning of great things to come.”

Ugu South Coast Tourism’s CEO, Justin Mackrory is equally positive about the way forward. `For a long time now I have wanted to put film tourism as a key driver into changing the face of seasonality in the greater South Coast area.

“As a destination, we have so much on offer, so much so that already the first lead generated through the Film Commission is looking very promising in that we could be hosting a multi-million Rand television production’.

And what better way to entice the Film Commission to visit during the annual Harley-Davidson Africa Bike Week held in Margate this past weekend?

It sure was hard to get Ms Coetzee out of the bike action, however once in the hinterland she really didn’t want to leave at all.

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