PUBLISHED: Wed, 29 Jul 2020 16:04:09 GMT

The City of eThekwini pulled out all stops to give fans of the annual Vodacom Durban July (VDJ). The Virtual Vodacom Durban July (VDJ) Experience indeed delivered to its expectations of promoting the City’s travel in order to boost tourism as from 24 July people were reminded how it felt like to be in to be in Durban.

This was witnessed by #VDJ2020 which trended as number one in the social networks on the day of the Africa’s biggest horse race, 25 July and throughout the weekend which means the event was the most talked about.

The highlight of the #VDJ 2020 experience included a breakthrough for two iconic township restaurants namely Eyadini and Max’s Lifestyles in Umlazi who received betting license for the first time in the VDJ history.

Commenting on these major news, Max’s Lifestyle’s Marketing Manager, Zinhle Mqadi, said “To host punters for betting in their venue was a dream come true. This was truly a breakthrough for our establishment as we had always wished to have a license to allow for their patrons to place bets during the July.”

She further added that this is a good sign and adds value to the growth of their place and they will make sure that is betting opportunity occurs annually.

The Virtual Experience is not yet over, as viewers at home are set to be blown away by a two-hour long Mother of All Parties on 30 July 2020 which will feature prominent and upcoming local Durban talent and entertainment, between 16h00 and 18h00 on social media platforms. The Mother of All Parties will be followed by the ‘Virtual July Township Experience’ entertainment special to be aired on Friday between 16h00 to 18h00 at MTV Base, channel 322 and all Durban Tourism social media platforms showcasing the lifestyle of five township restaurants base in Umlazi, Chesterville, Umgababa and KwaMashu, namely – Artizen Lounge, Casablanca,Coastal Lounge, Eyadini Lounge, Mashamplane’s Lounge, Max’s Lifestyle, Mojo’s Lounge, Nsimbini Lounge, the Zone, Umgababa Lounge, Under the Moon and Zarks.  More Durban township products will be featured through destination in various media platforms as we invite people to explore the products in a Covid-19 responsible way.  The aim is for the whole world to see the African cuisine served in these places, ambience, music played and all so that they will consider exploring Durban.

In a bid to  promote the Durban destination together with the local entertainment talent, the City partnered with various stakeholders in hosting #VDJ 2020 virtual music concerts such as pre and after parties which was the most talked about during this weekend and reminded people about the nightlife. The platform afforded and contributed to the artists’ income as they have not been on stage for a very long time. The total number of artists who benefitted is approximately 50 who received a stipend payment and exposure. The artists expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to earn an income during this challenging time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of destination promotion, Durban Tourism partnerd with Gold Circle to shoot with models and horses at the Durban promenade as well as Max’s Lifestyle, bring much excited to both areas and showcasing the symbol and spirit of the VDJ

Fashion was also the centre of attention at the VDJ themed “Butterflies” that saw nine local designers from the Durban Fashion Fair Programme receiving utmost exposure on DSTV interviews about their outfits, professional social media video posted on VDJ & DFF platforms digital platforms, 2 x professional studio images (model + designer & model), R5000 cash from Gold Circle, R1000 Gateway Shopping Mall voucher and 5gig data from Vodacom.

EThekwini Deputy City Manager for Economic Development and Planning, Philip Sithole said: “I am happy that our hard work is paying off. Most of the establishment and brands successes within the industry are because of our endless support and through the maximum exposure we provided during this virtual VDJ we know they are bound to even take the City’s flag higher.”

Sithole reiterated that there was no way they could just forget about this event and not host it as there are so many subsectors who depend on it and who are economically bleeding because of current economy situation. “Because of our creative virtual concept, we are happy to state that some of these sectors benefitted.”

These include health and safety consultants, technical production companies, activations, events and marketing consultants, décor and stage production, catering, graphic design and creatives, videographers and photographers, models, make-up artists, medical services and social media influencers.

Taking the concept beyond, Durban Tourism will be engaging online with various tour operators on a campaign named Re-discover Durban’s  hidden gems through a continued Durban virtual experience campaign.

Deputy Head of Durban Tourism, Winile Mntungwa said: “Re-discover Durban is a continuation of the #Durbanhasmore campaign where the public and potential tourist are being reminded about the hidden gems of the City. It’s an initiative that entrenches the brand by piquing the interest of tourists about the hidden gems that Durban has to offer and will run until the Summer campaign begins.”

The holistic aim of the Virtual Durban July Experience was for the City of Durban to remain top of mind with tourists and also to showcase what the VDJ is known for as a spectacular explosion of fashion, food, entertainment and of course horse racing.

Follow the Durban’s Virtual July Experience on twitter @dbntourism and on Facebook @DBNTourism and Instagram @dbntourism and also on

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