DURBAN - Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) wants to ultimately position the Vodacom Durban July (VDJ) on the same level as other global top racing like the US’s Kentucky Derby, Australia’s Melbourne Cup and the Dubai Cup.
TKZN said the annual local horse-racing spectacle was expected to attract about 50 000 people to this year’s Vodacom Durban July (VDJ) bringing with them an additional R150 million-rand cash injection into the local economy lifting the this event to Africa’s greatest horse-race.
The entity’s acting chief executive Phindile Makwakwa said it would be able to achieve the milestone they have set themselves by attracting international patrons.
“When we add good tourism spots to visit, good weather and the first world facilities, we are confident that the province can become the playground for tourists from across the globe,” said Makwakwa.
She said the recent announcement made by British Airways that they would be reopening the direct London route to Durban meant that visitors from Europe could now partake in the lifestyle events in the same way they enjoy the Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival in England, with patrons flying direct in less than 10 hours.
TKZN said it was for that reason that they anticipated an influx of visitors when direct flights resumed in October.
Makwakwa said the Vodacom Durban July was an institution that had grown from strength to strength to not only Durban but the entire province.
Gold Circle event marketing manager Ken Tweddel said on the day of the race day visitors were expected to spend a projected R75 million, while betting was to add another R100 million on and at off course totes around the country.
TKZN said forecasts were that the total contribution made to the province’s economy would be around R159 million coupled with the creation of 320 jobs.
Last year, international tourist visitor arrivals for July and August stood at 112 000. This year the province expected 125 000 international arrivals for the same period with an average spend of R5 877 per visit expected to rise to R7 700 to translate into just over R962 million rand into the economy.
The entity said while the domestic market might have shown signs of a slight decline, all indicators pointed to the province welcoming more international visitors than before.
The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) East Coast region operations manager Charles Preece said the VDJ was the biggest single day event in the provinces which would have a high occupancy in hotel if not a total 100 percent.
- BUSINESS REPORT