DURBAN - The Comrades Marathon that will be taking place this Sunday is set to inject R700 million into the Durban economy.
The athletics event that has running every year since 1921 with the exception of the period during the Second World War, will see thousands of men and women run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in hope of being crowned the winner of the marathon.
The marathon is set to contribute greatly to the Durban economy as mentioned above. Business Report spoke with the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism and the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry to get more information about the economic benefits of the race.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya from KZN Tourism said, "It is predicted that the event will have an economic boost of up to R700 million as we expect tourists, far and wide to descend onto the province."
He added that they are beginning to see a steady increase in international participation and the economic returns that comes with that.
According to Ngwenya, the event will have a huge economic impact because participants that come for the event bring with them their coaches and families. They book at hotels and BnB's, hire vehicles, eat at restaurants etc. This in turn has a huge impact on the economy of the province. "Our hotel occupancy rates is relatively high during this time.
The President of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Musa Makhunga has also agreed that the event has numerous economic benefits for Durban.
Makhunga said that the event can be a catalyst to position us as an international and domestic destination of choice through appropriate marketing and the development of magnetic tourism products and services.
He further said that sporting events play a strong role in attracting investment to the city.
For this year's race the male and female winners will each receive R440 000 each. If an athlete breaks a Comrades Marathon record then he/she will receive an additional R440 000.
R200 000 will also be given to the first South Africa man and woman that cross the finish line and the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation will give R45 000 to the first KZN man and women that cross the finish line.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE