Durban has been named a New7Wonders City for 2014. Millions of people flock to the city annually for its golden beaches along the Indian Ocean, warm sub-tropical weather and friendly atmosphere.
The New7Wonders Cities forum selects cities for the list by evaluating elements such as architecture, metropolitan governance, urban planning and tourism. Durban made the cut, alongside Doha (Qatar), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Vigan (Philippines), Havana (Cuba), Beirut (Lebanon), and La Paz (Bolivia).
The New7Wonders Foundation is based in Switzerland and was founded in 2001 by Swiss-born Canadian film maker Bernard Weber, who currently serves as the organisation’s president. The foundation is entirely funded by licensing and commercial partnerships with companies and shareholders. New7Wonders has generated over US$5 billion for the locations participating in its campaigns; the funds have been allocated to promoting the sites and cities economically and boosting tourism revenues. The foundation aims to contribute to the conservation world’s natural and man-made heritage, and to encourage respect for the Earth’s diversity; the organisation’s mission is to create awareness for this cause. The New7Wonders forum includes expert judges who worked to select 21 finalists and compile the closing list of cities, including a panel of world-renown architects and the former Director-General of UNESCO Prof. Dr. Federico Mayor Zaragoza from Spain, who serves as the panel’s president. People from around the world were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite cities during three voting phases which took place throughout the year.
Durban was noted as having the most beautiful peer in the world and is described as a South African melting pot of people, landscapes and architecture. The surfing capital and provincial capital of Kwa-Zulu Natal is becoming increasingly well-known as an African tourist destination for international visitors who want to experience its cultural diversity, among other attractions of the area.
Cities are an important aspect of life as, for the first time in history; most of the world population resides in cities. New7Wonders acknowledges this importance and provides a platform for people to vote for the seven cities which are “simply the best”. Durban has proven that it deserves to be on this list, showing the world that South Africa is home to not only one, but many world-class cities.