Angelina Jolie will lead a star-studded crew of celebrities to Durban, South Africa next week for the U.N. climate change conference (COP17).

The global summit will be the single biggest event in Durban's history, with South African media touting it as "bigger than the World Cup".

Jolie, a UNHCR Goodwill Amabassador, will be joined by actor and committed environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, former Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former US vice-president and active environmental campaigner Al Gore and Bono from U2.

It's reported that all hotels in and around Durban city have been booked out and the conference is due to net the hospitality industry more than R500m (approx. £38m).

Among other notable guests to attend the event include World Bank president Robert Zoellick, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and eight Nobel Laureates, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

CNN founder Ted Turner and Virgin boss Richard Branson are also said to be in town for the conference.

The global event is expected to attract delegates from more than 200 countries as the world's governments and leaders will discuss a new global agreement to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Sue Bannister, acting head of the eThekwini Municipality's strategic projects unit, said hosting the event would cost the city a little more than R50m, but that it will be money well spent.

"The mileage Durban will get from this event is massive," she told the Sunday Independent.

"The people coming are not just here for match days, but are here for two straight weeks. It's as big as the World Cup, just at a tenth of the cost," she said.

The hospitality industry alone could stand to make R500m from the event, according to early economic benefit studies.

"The people that are coming have got a lot of spare cash," Bannister said.

"At the ICC, we are expecting about 15,000 people. The biggest we've had before is about 10,000. There are also NGOs coming and events on the outskirts could bring in as many as 5,000, 10,000 or 20,000 extra people. It's huge," she said.

During World Cup match days, approximately 20,000 non-Durbanites visited the city.

"There will be benefits for local traders, for people in catering, and so on. The taxi cabs will be busy, and I know some delegations have hired personal buses. It really is a big event," she said.

Security for the event will be strict and the city centre will face a virtual lockdown.

Metro Police deputy head Steve Middleton said there would be an increased deployment of officers for the event.

"The core area of the event is at the ICC and the Durban Exhibition Centre, thus there will be increased deployment in this vicinity. This is mainly for traffic control and management, but also for crime prevention purposes," he told the Tribune.

The 17<sup>th Conference of the Parties (COP17) climate change conference will run from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9.