An aerial shot of the Vodacom Durban July that is taking place this Saturday, number of visitors from outside of the province will be at this annual horse racing spectacle. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

DURBAN - The Vodacom Durban July this Saturday has increasingly brought in a number of visitors from outside of the province and the annual horse racing event is set to bring in an economic injection worth around R300 million for Durban. 

According to a Vodacom Durban July media statement, up to 40 percent of the crowd at the event will have travelled into KwaZulu-Natal for the weekend, most of them from Gauteng.

This will result in a massive demand for luxury accommodation, pre- and post-event parties, restaurants and entertainment in the greater Durban area.

According to Durban Tourism, projected event visitors are estimated to be around 32 191 local residents, and 11 683 tourists. DurbanTourism has projected that, if spending is similar to previous years, visitors will spend around R 99 685 997 with a contribution to eThekwini’s GDP of R 267 976 581. 

Phindile Makwakwa, the Acting Chief Executive of Tourism KZN said, "We are expecting over 45 000 patrons to come to the Vodacom Durban July and many more who come for all the activities around the Vodacom Durban July We are project a 85 percent hotel occupancy". 

According to Makwakwa, the Vodacom Durban July is definitely a major highlight for the domestic market therefore we are now wanting to grow it into a Pan African event and attract more visitors from the continent. 

"This year, as Tourism KZN, we are hosting 35 Tour Operators and Agents from DRC, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana so they can have a first hand feel of the province for them to better sell and package us back home," said Makwakwa. 

According to the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Durban July is one of South Africa’s most respected sporting events and has become a highlight for both South Africans and overseas visitors, who flock to Durban to witness what has become known as 'Africa’s greatest horse racing event'.

Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Palesa Phili said, "An event of this nature brings an array of socio-economic benefits to the local economy. The event is expected to directly employ 453 people and this figure excludes the permanent and temporary jobs generated across various industry sectors and their value chains such as logistics, transportation, tourism and hospitality". 

According to the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, the Vodacom Durban July brings with it an assortment of economic impact in that it boosts the hospitality industry especially the hotels, lodges and B&Bs, there is also a substantial increase in road and air traffic. 

On the benefits of the Vodacom Durban July for small business the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs said Small business benefit through trading, vending, increased intake in their accommodation enterprises. Small businesses will also get the chance to install marquees at the Greyville Racecourse and be able to exhibit.